Rochester. An inn yard.
(First Carrier; Second Carrier; Gadshill; Chamberlain; Ostler)
Servants at the inn get horses ready for their masters’ departure. Gadshill and his informer the Chamberlain discuss the coming robbery. The thief is certain he’ll get away with it. (32 lines)
Enter a Carrier with a lantern in his hand.
Heigh-ho! An’ it be not four by the day, I’ll be hang’d. Charles’ wain is over the new chimney, and yet our horse not pack’d. What, ostler!
I prithee, Tom, beat Cut’s saddle, put a few flocks in the point. Poor jade is wrung in the withers, out of all cess.
Enter another Carrier.
Peas and beans are as dank here as a dog, and that is the next way to give poor jades the bots. This house is turn’d upside down since Robin ostler died.
Poor fellow never joy’d since the price of oats rose, it was the death of him.
I think this be the most villainous house in all London road for fleas. I am stung like a tench.
Like a tench? By the mass, there is ne’er a king christen could be better bit than I have been since the first cock.
Why, they will allow us ne’er a jordan, and then we leak in your chimney, and your chamber-lye breeds fleas like a loach.
What, ostler! Come away and be hang’d! Come away.
I have a gammon of bacon and two razes of ginger, to be deliver’d as far as Charing-cross.
God’s body, the turkeys in my pannier are quite starv’d. What, ostler! A plague on thee! Hast thou never an eye in thy head? Canst not hear? And ’twere not as good deed as drink to break the pate on thee, I am a very villain. Come, and be hang’d! Hast no faith in thee?
Good morrow, carriers, what’s a’ clock?
I think it be two a’ clock.
I prithee lend me thy lantern, to see my gelding in the stable.
Nay, by God, soft, I know a trick worth two of that, i’ faith.
I pray thee lend me thine.
Ay, when, canst tell? Lend me thy lantern, quoth he! Marry, I’ll see thee hang’d first.
Sirrah carrier, what time do you mean to come to London?
Time enough to go to bed with a candle, I warrant thee. Come, neighbor Mugs, we’ll call up the gentlemen. They will along with company, for they have great charge.
What ho! Chamberlain!
At hand, quoth pick-purse.
That’s even as fair as—at hand, quoth the chamberlain; for thou variest no more from picking of purses than giving direction doth from laboring: thou layest the plot how.
Good morrow, Master Gadshill. It holds current that I told you yesternight: there’s a franklin in the Wild of Kent hath brought three hundred marks with him in gold. I heard him tell it to one of his company last night at supper, a kind of auditor, one that hath abundance of charge too—God knows what. They are up already, and call for eggs and butter. They will away presently.
Sirrah, if they meet not with Saint Nicholas’ clerks, I’ll give thee this neck.
No, I’ll none of it, I pray thee keep that for the hangman, for I know thou worshippest Saint Nicholas as truly as a man of falsehood may.
What talkest thou to me of the hangman? If I hang, I’ll make a fat pair of gallows; for if I hang, old Sir John hangs with me, and thou knowest he is no starveling. Tut, there are other Troyans that thou dream’st not of, the which for sport sake are content to do the profession some grace, that would (if matters should be look’d into) for their own credit sake make all whole. I am join’d with no foot land-rakers, no long-staff sixpenny strikers, none of these mad mustachio purple-hu’d malt-worms, but with nobility and tranquility, burgomasters and great oney’rs, such as can hold in, such as will strike sooner than speak, and speak sooner than drink, and drink sooner than pray; and yet, ’zounds, I lie, for they pray continually to their saint, the commonwealth, or rather, not pray to her, but prey on her, for they ride up and down on her, and make her their boots.
What, the commonwealth their boots? Will she hold out water in foul way?
She will, she will, justice hath liquor’d her. We steal as in a castle, cock-sure; we have the receipt of fern-seed, we walk invisible.
Nay, by my faith, I think you are more beholding to the night than to fern-seed for your walking invisible.
Give me thy hand. Thou shalt have a share in our purchase, as I am a true man.
Nay, rather let me have it as you are a false thief.
Go to, homo is a common name to all men. Bid the ostler bring my gelding out of the stable. Farewell, you muddy knave.