ACT II
Scene I
 

Rochester. An inn yard.

Enter a Carrier with a lantern in his hand.

FIRST CARRIER
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!
Ost. [within] Anon, anon.

FIRST CARRIER
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.

SECOND 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 turned upside
down since Robin Ostler died.

FIRST CARRIER
Poor fellow never joyed since the price of oats rose. It
was the death of him.

SECOND CARRIER
I think this be the most villanous house in all London road
for fleas. I am stung like a tench.

FIRST CARRIER
Like a tench I By the mass, there is ne'er a king christen
could be better bit than I have been since the first cock.

FIRST CARRIER
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.

FIRST CARRIER
What, ostler! come away and be hang'd! come away!

SECOND CARRIER
I have a gammon of bacon and two razes of ginger, to be
delivered as far as Charing Cross.

FIRST CARRIER
God's body! the turkeys in my pannier are quite starved.
What, ostler! A plague on thee! hast thou never an eye in thy
head? Canst not hear? An '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?

Enter Gadshill.

GADSHILL
Good morrow, carriers. What's o'clock?

FIRST CARRIER
I think it be two o'clock.

GADSHILL
I prithee lend me this lantern to see my gelding in the
stable.

FIRST CARRIER
Nay, by God, soft! I know a trick worth two of that,
i' faith.

GADSHILL
I pray thee lend me thine.

SECOND CARRIER
Ay, when? canst tell? Lend me thy lantern, quoth he? Marry,
I'll see thee hang'd first!

GADSHILL
Sirrah carrier, what time do you mean to come to London?

SECOND CARRIER
Time enough to go to bed with a candle, I warrant thee.
Come, neighbour Mugs, we'll call up the gentlemen. They will
along with company, for they have great charge.

Exeunt [Carriers].

GADSHILL
What, ho! chamberlain!

Enter Chamberlain.

CHAMBERLAIN
At hand, quoth pickpurse.

GADSHILL
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 labouring: thou layest the plot how.

CHAMBERLAIN
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.

GADSHILL
Sirrah, if they meet not with Saint Nicholas' clerks, I'll
give thee this neck.

CHAMBERLAIN
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.

GADSHILL
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 joined with no foot land-rakers, no long-staff sixpenny
strikers, none of these mad mustachio purple-hued maltworms; but
with nobility, and tranquillity, burgomasters and great oneyers,
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.

CHAMBERLAIN
What, the commonwealth their boots? Will she hold out water
in foul way?

GADSHILL
She will, she will! Justice hath liquor'd her. We steal as in
a castle, cocksure. We have the receipt of fernseed, we walk
invisible.

CHAMBERLAIN
Nay, by my faith, I think you are more beholding to the night
than to fernseed for your walking invisible.

GADSHILL
Give me thy hand. Thou shalt have a share in our purchase, as
I and a true man.

CHAMBERLAIN
Nay, rather let me have it, as you are a false thief.

GADSHILL
Go to; 'homo' is a common name to all men. Bid the ostler
bring my gelding out of the stable. Farewell, you muddy knave.

Exeunt.