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quoth Gray, is this, that the covetous Earle, who through a greedy Desire, never left begging of the King for one Thing or other, and his Request being now denied him, of meere Obstinacy and wilfull Frowardnesse, hath banished himselfe out of the Land, & quite forsaken the Country of Cornwall, having made a Vow never to set Foote within England againe, and, as Report goeth, he with the late banisht Earl of Shrewsbury, have joyned themselves with Robert Duke of Normandy, against the King, the which Action of theirs hath inflamed the King's Wrath, that their Ladies with their Children are quite turned out of Doores succourlesse and friendlesse, so that it is told me, they wander up and downe the Country like forlorne People, and although many doe pitie them, yet few doe releeve them.
A lamentable Hearing, qd. William of Worcester, & with that casting their Eyes aside, they espyed Tom Dove with the Rest of his Companions come riding to meete them, who as soone as they were come thither, fell into such pleasant Discourses, as did shorten the long Way they had to Colebroke, where alwayes at their comming towards London they dined; and being once entred into their Inne, according to olde Custome, good Cheere
was provided for them: for these Clothiers were the chiefest Guests that travailed along the Way: and this was as sure as an Act of Parliament, that Tom Dove could not digest his Meat without musicke, nor drinke Wine without women, so that his Hostesse being a merry Wench, would oftentimes call in Two or Three of her Neighbours Wives to keepe him Company, where, ere they parted, they were made as pleasant as Pies. And this being a continuall Custome amongst them when they came thither, at length the Womens Husbands beganne to take Exceptions at their Wives going thither: whereupon great Controversie grew betweene them, in such Sort, that when they were most restrained, then they had most Desire to worke their Wills: now gip (quoth they) must we be so tyed to our Taske, that wee may not drinke with our Friends? fie, fie, upon these yellow Hose; will no other Die serve your Turne? have wee thus long bin your Wives, and doe you now mistrust us? verily you eate too much Salt, and that makes you grow cholericke, badde Livers judge all Others the like, but in Faith you shall not bridle us so like Asses, but wee will goe to our Friends, when we are sent for, and doe you what you can. Well, quoth their Husbands, if you be so headstrong, we will tame
you: you: it is the Duty of honest Women to obey their Husbands Sayings. And of honest Men (quoth they) to thinke well of their Wives; but who doe sooner impeach their Credit, then their Husbands charging them, if they doe but smile, that they are subtill; and if they doe but winke, they account them wily: if sad of Countenance, then sullen: if they be froward, then they are counted Shrewes: and sheepish if they bee gentle: if a Woman keepe her House, then you will say shee is melancholy, if shee walke abroade, then you call her a Gadder; a Puritane, if she be precise; and a Wanton, if shee be pleasant: so there is no Woman in the world that knowes how to please you: that we thinke ourselves accurst to be married Wives, living with so many Woes. These Men, of whose Company you forewarne us, are (for ought that we ever saw) both honest and courteous, and in Wealth farre beyond yourselves: then what Reason is there, why we should restraine to visit them? is their Good-will so much to be requited with Scorne, that their Cost may not be countervailed with our Company? if a Woman be disposed to play light of Love, alas, alas, doe you thinke that you can prevent her? Nay, wee will abide by it, that the Restraint of Liberty inforceth Women to be lewd: for where a
Woman cannot be trusted, she cannot thinke herselfe beloved, and if not beloved, what Cause hath she to care for such a One? therefore, Husbands, reforme your Opinions, and doe not worke your owne Woes, with our Discredit. The Clothiers, we tell you, are jolly Fellowes, and but in respect of our Courtesie, they would scorne our Company.
The Men hearing their Wives so well to plead for themselves, knew not how to answer, but said, they would put the Burden on their Consciences, if they deale unjustly with them, and so left them to their owne Wills. The Women having thus conquered their Husbands Conceits, would not leave the Favour of their Friends for Frownes, and as above the Rest Tom Dove was the most pleasantest, so was he had in most Reputation with the Women, who for his Sake made this Song:
Welcome to Towne, Tom Dove, "Tom Dove,
The merriest Man alive,
Thy Company still we love, we love,
God grant thee well to thrive.
And never will we depart from thee,
For better or worse, my Joy,
For thou shalt still have our good Will,
Gods Blessing on my sweet Boy.
This Song went up and downe through the whole Country, and at length became a Dance among the common Sort, so that Tom Dove, for his Mirth and good Fellowship, was famous in every Place. Now when they came to London, they were welcome to the vast Jarrat the Gyant, & as soone as they were alighted, they were saluted by the Merchants, who waited their Comming thither, and alwayes prepared for them a costly Supper, where they commonly made their Bargaine, and upon every Bargaine made, they still used to send some Tokens to the Clothiers Wives. The next Morning they went to the Hall, where they met the Northerne Clothiers, who greeted one another in this Sort. What, my Masters of the West, well met: what Cheere? what Cheere? Even the best Cheere our Merchants could make us, (quoth Gray.) Then you could not chuse but fare well, quoth Hodgekins: And you be weary of our Company, adieu, quoth Sutton: Not so, said Martin, but shall wee not have a Game ere wee goe? Yes faith for an Hundred Pounds. Well said, old Cole, said they: and with that Cole and Gray went to the Dice with Martin and Hodgekins; and the Dice running on Hodgekins side, Coles money began to waste. Now by the Masse, quoth Cole, my Money