cloathes all greasie, his. mistris spake in this manner: "What a slovenlie knave comes here! Were- not this a fit man, think ye, to be master of this house and lord of my love?"

"Now, by my troth", said Mistris Peachie, "I never saw a more unhandsome fellow in my life. Fie, how hee stinkes of kitchin-stuffe! What a face and neck hath he! A bodie might set leekes in the very durt of his lips. T thinke, in my conscience, three pound of sope and a barrell of water is little enough to scowre him cleane." The like flowts used all the rest at poore William.

To which his mistris made this answer: "Good Lord, my masters, how much do your sights deceive you! In my sight he looks the loveliest of them all, having a pleasant countenance and a good grace; and so pleasing is he in every part to my sight that surely if he will accept of mee for his wife, I will not refuse him for my husband." Her friends, looking one upon another and marvelling at her speech, thought verily she had but jested, till such time she took him by the hand and gave him a kisse.

Whereupon William spake thus unto her: "Faire mistris, seeing it hath pleased you, beyond my desert and contrarie to my expectation, to make me so gracious an offer, worthie I were to live a beggar if I should refuse such a treasure. And thereupon I give you my heart and my hand."

"And I receive it", quoth she; "for it is thy vertue and true humilitie that hath conquered my former conceipts. For few men would have wonne a wife as tbou didst."

"No? How did he win you?" said Harrie Nevill.

"By fetching oysters from Billingsgate", quoth she; "which I know you would not have done, seeing all the 1 rest of my servants scorn'd to do it at my request."

"S'blood", quoth Harrie, "by feching of oysters? I would have fetcht oysters and mustles and cockles too, to have got so good a bargaine".

The alderman and the doctor lookt strangely at this matter. Neverthelesse, seeing it was not to be helpt, they commended her choice, saying it was better for a man in such a case to be favourable in a woman's eyes then to have much gold in his coffers.

Then did she set her black man by her white side, and, calling the rest of her servants, in the sight of her friends she made them do reverence unto him whom they for his drudgerie scorned so much before. So, the breakfast ended, she wild them all next morning to beare him companie to church. Against which time, William was so daintily trickt up that all those which beheld him confest he was a most comely, trim, and proper man. And after they were married they lived long together in joy and prosperous estate.

Harrie Nevill became so grieved hereat that soone after he went from Master Peachie and dwelt with a goldsmith. And when he had beene a while there, committing a fault with his masters daughter, he departed thence and became a barber-surgion. But there his mistris and he were so familiar that it nothing pleased his master. So that in halfe a yeare he sought a new service and became a cook; and then a comfet-maker, dwelling with Master Baltazar. Where, after he grew something cunning, having done some shrewd turne in that place, he forsooke that service and became a smith. Where their maide Judeth fell so highly in love with him that he for pure good will which he bore her shewed his master a faire paire of heeles; and then practised to be a joyner. Where he continued till hee heard his father was sick. Who for his abominable swearing had cast him from his favour. But after he had long mist him, and that he could heare no tidings of his untoward and wilde, wanton sonne, hee sent into divers places to enquire for him. And at last one of his1) servants lighted2) where he was; by which meanes he came to his father againe.

') this. 2) lighed.

Who in a few yeares after, leaving his life, this sonne Harrie became lord of all his lands, and comming upon a day to London with his men waiting upon him, he caused a great dinner to be prepared and sent for all those that had been his masters and mistresses. Who being come, he thus began to commune with them: "My good friends, I understand that a certaine kinsman of mine was sometimes your servant, and as I take it, his name was Harrie Nevell. Who, as I heare, used himselfe but homely toward you, being a very wilde and ungracious fellow, — the report whereof hath beene some griefe to me, being one that alwayes wisht him well. Wherefore look what damage he hath done you I pray you tell me, and I am content with reason to see you satisfied, so that he may have your favours to be made a freeman."

"Surely, sir", said Peachie, "for mine own part, I can

say little, save only that he was so full of love that he

I would seldome follow his businesse at his occupation. But

I that matter I freely forgive, and will not be his hindrance

in anything."

"Marry, sir", said the goldsmith, "I cannot say so. For truly, sir, he plaid the theefe in my house, robbing my daughter of her maidenhead. Which he nor you is never able to reconipence, though you gave me a thousand pound. Yet, I thank God, she is married and doth well." "I am the glader of that", said the gentleman, "and for that fault I will give toward her maintenance forty pound."

The barber, hearing him say so, told him that hee had injured him as much and had beene more bold a great deale then became him. "Whereby", quoth he, "I was made a scorne among my neighbours."

"Tush, you speake of ill will", said the gentleman. "If your wife will say so, I will beleeve it."

To which words the woman made this answer: "Good sir, will you beleeve me, there was never so much matter.

Palaestra XVIIL 14

The youth was an honest, faire-conditioned young man, but my husband, bearing a naughty, jealous ininde, grew suspicious without cause, onely because he saw that his servant was kinde and gentle unto me and would have done anything that I requested. Notwithstanding, I have had many a fowle word for his sake and carried some bitter blowes too. But all is one — I am not the first woman that hath suffered injury without cause."

"Alas, good soule", said the gentleman, "I am right sorry for thy griefe, and to make thee amends I will bestow on thee twentie angels, so your husband will not take it in dudgin."

The woman with a low cursie gave him thanks, saying: "Truly, sir, I am highly beholding to you, and truly I shall love you the better because you are so like him."

The smith likewise for his maide said all that he might. To whose marriage the gentleman gave twentie pound.

Thus after hee had fully ended with them all, hee made himselfe knowne unto them; at what time they all rejoyced greatly: and then, after he had bestowed on them a sumptuous dinner, they all departed. And ever after, this gentleman kept men of all these occupations in his own house, himself being as good a workman as any of them all.

The Green King of St. Martin's.

Chap. I. Of the greene king of S. Martin's and his merry feats.

There dwelt in S. Martin's a jolly shooemaker. Hee

was commonly called the Greene King, for that upon a

time he shewed himselfe before King Henry with all his

men cloathed in greene, he himselfe being suted all in

greene satten. He was a man very humorous, of small

stature but most couragious, and continually he used the

fencing-schoole. When he went abroad, he carried alwayes

a two-handed sword on his shoulder or under his arme.

He kept continually thirtie or fortie servants, and kept in

his house most bountifull fare. You shall understand that

in his young yeares, his father, dying, left him a good

portion, so that he was in great credit and estimation

among his neighbours. And that which made him more

happie was this, that God blest him with the gift of a

good wife, who was a very comely young woman and

therewithall very carefull for his commoditie. But he,

whose minde was altogether of merriment, little respected

his profit in regard of his pleasure; insomuch that through

his wastefull expence he brought povertie upon himselfe

ere he was aware, so that he could not do as he was

accustomed. Which when his daily companions perceived,

they by little and little shun'd his company, and if at any

time he passed by them, perhaps they would lend him a

nod, or give him a 'good morrow', and make no more adoe.

« PreviousContinue »