CLARE. How doth my Lady? are you not weary, Madam? Come hither, I must talk in private with you; My daughter Milliscent must not over-hear.
MILLISCENT. Aye, whispring; pray God it tend my good! Strange fear assails my heart, usurps my blood.
CLARE. You know our meeting with the knight Mounchensey Is to assure our daughter to his heir.
DORCAS. Tis, without question.
CLARE. Two tedious winters have past o'er, since first These couple lov'd each other, and in passion Glued first their naked hands with youthful moisture-- Just so long, on my knowledge.
DORCAS. And what of this?
CLARE. This morning should my daughter lose her name, And to Mounchenseys house convey our arms, Quartered within his scutcheon; th' affiance, made Twist him and her, this morning should be sealed.
DORCAS. I know it should.
CLARE. But there are crosses, wife; here's one in Waltham, Another at the Abbey, and the third At Cheston; and tis ominous to pass Any of these without a pater-noster. Crosses of love still thwart this marriage, Whilst that we two, like spirits, walk in night About those stony and hard hearted plots.
MILLISCENT. O God, what means my father?
CLARE. For look you, wife, the riotous old knight Hath o'rerun his annual revenue In keeping jolly Christmas all the year: The nostrils of his chimney are still stuft With smoke, more chargeable then Cane-tobacco; His hawks devour his fattest dogs, whilst simple, His leanest curs eat him hounds carrion. Besides, I heard of late, his younger brother, A Turkey merchant, hath sure suck'de the knight By means of some great losses on the sea, That, you conceive me, before God all is naught, His seat is weak: thus, each thing rightly scanned, You'll se a flight, wife, shortly of his land.
MILLISCENT. Treason to my hearts truest sovereign: How soon is love smothered in foggy gain!
DORCAS. But how shall we prevent this dangerous match?
CLARE. I have a plot, a trick, and this is it- Under this colour I'll break off the match: I'll tell the knight that now my mind is changd For marrying of my daughter, for I intend To send her unto Cheston Nunry.
MILLISCENT. O me accurst!
CLARE. There to become a most religious Nun.
MILLISCENT. I'll first be buried quick.
CLARE. To spend her beauty in most private prayers.
MILLISCENT. I'll sooner be a sinner in forsaking Mother and father.
CLARE. How dost like my plot?
DORCAS. Exceeding well; but is it your intent She shall continue there?
CLARE. Continue there? Ha, ha, that were a jest! You know a virgin may continue there A twelve month and a day only on trial. There shall my daughter sojourn some three months, And in mean time I'll compass a fair match Twixt youthful Jerningham, the lusty heir Of Sir Raph Jerningham, dwelling in the forest- I think they'll both come hither with Mounchensey.
DORCAS. Your care argues the love you bear our child; I will subscribe to any thing you'll have me.
MILLISCENT. You will subscribe it! good, good, tis well; Love hath two chairs of state, heaven and hell. My dear Mounchensey, thou my death shalt rue, Ere to my heart Milliscent prove untrue.
SCENE II. The same.
HOST. Ostlers, you knaves and commanders, take the horses of the knights and competitors: your honourable hulks have put into harborough, they'll take in fresh water here, and I have provided clean chamber-pots. Via, they come!
[Enter Sir Richard Mounchesney, Sir Raph Jerningham, young Frank Jerningham, Raymond Mounchesney, Peter Fabell, and Bilbo.]
HOST. The destinies be most neat Chamberlains to these swaggering puritans, knights of the subsidy.
SIR MOUNCHESNEY. God a mercy, good mine host.
SIR JERNINGHAM. Thanks, good host Blague.
HOST. Room for my case of pistolles, that have Greek and Latin bullets in them; let me cling to your flanks, my nimble Giberalters, and blow wind in your calves to make them swell bigger. Ha, I'll caper in mine own fee-simple; away with puntillioes and Orthography! I serve the good Duke of Norfolk.