Merrie conceited Jests.
Note on the e-text: this Renascence Editions text was transcribed, March 2003, by R.S. Bear, from the Singer and Triphook type facsimile, 1809, of the undated edition (1620?). Content unique to this presentation is copyright © 2003 The University of Oregon. For nonprofit and educational uses only. Send comments and corrections to the Publisher.
Wherein is shewed
course of his life,
how he liued: a man very well knowne in
the City of L O N D O N, and elsewhere.
Buy, reade, and iudge,
The price doe not grudge:
It will doe thee more pleasure,
Than twice so much treasure.
L O N D O N,
Printed for Henry Bell, dwelling in the Little
Old Baily in Eliots Court.
The Iests of G E O R G E P E E L E, with
foure of his Companions at Brainford.
Eorge, with others of his Associates, being merry together at the Tauerne, hauing more store of Coine than usually they did possesse, although they were as regardlesse of their siluer, as a garden whore is of her honesty, yet they intended for a season to become good husbands, if they knew how to be sparing of that their pockets were then funisht withall: Five pounds they had amongst them, and a plot must be cast how they might be merry with extraordinary cheare three or foure dayes, and keepe their five pounds whole in stocke: George Peele was the man must doe it, or none, and generally they coniurde him by their loues, his owne credit, and the reputation that went on him, that he would but in this shew his wit: and withall he should haue all the furtherance that in them lay. George as easie as they earnest to be wonne to such an exploit, consented, and gathered their mony together, and gaue it all to George, who should be their Purse-bearer, and the other foure should seeme as seruants to George Peele; and the better to colour it, they should goe change their cloaks, the one like the other, so neere as they could possible: the which at Belzebubs brother the Brokers, they might quickly doe: This was soone accomplished, and George was furnished with his blacke Sattin suit, and a paire of boots, which were as familiar to his legs, as the Pillory to a Bakers or Colliers necke, and he sufficiently possest his friends with the whole scope of his intent, as, gentle Reader, the sequell will shew. Instantly they tooke a paire of Oares, whose armes were to make a false gallop no further than Brainford, where their fare was paid them so liberally, that each of them the next tide to London, purchased two new waistcoats, yet should these good benefactors come to their usuall places of trade, and if they spie a better fare than their owne, that haply the Gentleman hath more minde to goe withall, they will not onely fall out with him that is of their owne sweet transporters, as they are: but abuse the faire with foule speeches, as, a Pox, or the Deuill goe with you, as their Godfather Caron the Ferry-man of Hell hath taught them. I speake not this of all, but of some that are brought vp in the East, some in the West, some in the North; but most part in the South: but for the rest they are honest compleat men, leauing them to come to my honest George, who is now merry at the three Pigeons in Brainford, with Sack and Sugar, not any wine wanting, the Musicians playing, my host drinking, my hostis dancing with the worshipfull Justice, for so then he was termed, and his mansion house in Kent, who came thither of purpose to be merry with his men, because he could not so conueniently neare home, by reason of a shrewish wife he had: my gentle hostis gaue him all the entertainment her house could afford; for Master Peele had paid royally, for all his fiue pounds was come to ten groats. Now George Peeles wit labours to bring in that fiue pounds there was spent, which was soone begotten. Being set at dinner, My Host, quoth George, how fals the Tide out for London? Not till the euening, quoth mine Host, haue you any businesse sir? Yes marry, quoth George, I intend not to go home this two dayes: Therefore my Host saddle my man a horse for London, if you be so well furnished, for I must send him for one bag more, quoth George, ten pounds hath seene no sunne this six moneths. I am ill furnished if I cannot furnish you with that, quoth my Host, and presently sadled him a good Nag, and away rides one of Georges men to London, attending the good houre of his Maister Peele in London. In the meane time George bespeaks great cheare to supper, saying, he expected some of his friends from London. Now you must imagine there was not a penny owing in the house, for he had paid as liberally as Cæsar, as farre as Cæsars wealth went. For indeed most of the mony was one Cæsars an honest man yet liuing in London. But to the Catastrophe. All the day before, had one of the other men of George Peele beene a great soliciter to my Hostis, she would beg leaue of his Maister he might goe see a maid, a sweet heart of his so farre as Kingstone, and before his Master went to bed he would returne againe: saying, he was sure she might command it at his Masters hands. My kinde Hostis willing to pleasure the young fellow, knowing in her time what belonged to such matters, went to Master Peele, and moued him in it, which he angerly refused: but she was so earnest in it, that she swore he should not deny her, protesting he went but to see an Uncle of his some five miles off: Marie I thanke you, quoth George, my good Hostis, would you so discredit me, or hath the knaue no more wit, than at this time to goe, knowing I haue no horse here, and would the base cullian goe a foot? Nay, good sir, quoth mine Hostis, be not angry, it is not his intent to goe a foot: for he shall haue my Mare, and I will assure you Sir, upon my word he shall be here againe to haue you to bed; well, quoth George, Hostis, Ile take you at your word, let him go, his negligence shall light upon you. So be it, quoth mine Hostis: so downe goeth she, and sends away ciuill Thomas, for so she cald him, to his sweet heart backt upon her Mare: which Thomas in stead of riding to Kingstone, tooke London in his way, where meeting with my other horseman, attended the arriuall of George Peele, which was not long after: they are at London, George in his chamber at Brainford, accompanied with none but one Anthony Nit a Barber, who din'd and supt with him continually, of whom he had borrowed a Lute to passe away the melancholy afternoone, of which he could play as well as Bankes his horse. The Barber very modestly takes his leaue, George obsequiously bids him to supper, who (God willing) would not faile. George being left alone with his two supposed men, gaue them the meane how to escape, and walking in the court, George found fault with the weather, saying it was rawish and cold: which word mine Hostis hearing, my kinde Hostis fetched her husbands holiday gowne, which George thankfully put about him, and withall called for a cup of Sacke, after which he would walke into the Meddowes and practise upon his Lute. 'Tis good for your worship to do so, quoth mine Hostis: which walke George tooke directly to Sion, where hauing the aduantage of a paire of Oares at hand, made this iourny for London, his two Associates behind had the plot in their heads by Georges, instruction for their escape: for they knew he was gone, my Hostis she was in te market buying of prouision for supper: mine Host he was at Tables, and my two masterlesse men desired the maids to excuse them if their Master came, for, quoth they, we will goe drinke two pots with my Smug Smiths wife at old Brainford. I warrant you, quoth the Maids. So away went my men to the Smiths at old Brainford, from thence to London; where they all met, and sold the Horse and the Mare, the Gowne and the Lute, which mony was as badly spent, as it was lewdly got. How my Host and my Hostis lookt when they saw the euent of this, goe but to the three Pigeons at Brainford, you shall know.
The Iests of George and the Barber.
GEorge was not so merry at London with his Capons and Claret, as pore Anthony the Barber was sorrowfull at Brainford for the losse of his Lute, and therefore determined to come to London to seeke out George Peele, which by the meanes of a kinsman that Anthony Nit had in London, his name was Cuts or Feats, a fellow that had good skill in tricks on the Cards, and he was well acquainted with the place where Georges common abode was: and for kindred sake he directed the Barber where he should haue him, which was at a blinde Alehouse in Sea-coale lane. There he found George in a greene Jerkin, a Spanish fashioned hat, all alone at a peck of Oysters. The Barbers heart danc't within him for ioy he had so happily found him, he gaue him the time of the day: George not a little abashed at the sight of the Barber, yet went not to discover it openly, he that at all times had a quick inuention, was not now behind hand to entertaine my Barber, who knew for what his comming was: George thus saluted him, My honest Barber, quoth George, welcome to London, I partly know your businesse, you come for your Lute, do you not? Indeed Sir, quoth the Barber, for that is my comming. And belieue me, quoth George, you shall not lose your labour; I pray you stand to and eat an Oyster, and Ile goe with you presently: For a Gentleman in the City of great worship, borrowed it of me for the use of his Daughter, that playes exceeding well, and had a great desire to haue the Lute: but, sir, if you will goe along with me to the Gentlemans house, you shall haue your Lute with great satisfaction, for had not you come, I assure you I had sent it to you, for you must understand, that all that was done at Brainford among us mad Gentlemen, was but a iest, and no otherwise. Sir, I think not any otherwise, quoth the Barber: but I would desire your worship, that as you had it of me in loue, so in kindnesse you would helpe me to it againe. Oh God, what else, quoth George, Ile goe with thee presently, euen as I am, for I came from Hunting this morning; and should I goe up to the certaine Gentlemen aboue, I should hardly get away. I thank you sir, quoth the Barber, so on goes George with him in his green Jerkin, a wand in his hand very pretty, till he came almost at the Aldermans house, where making a sodaine stay, Afore God, quoth George, I must craue thy pardon at this instant, for I haue bethought my selfe, should I goe as I am, it would be imagined I had had some of my Lords hounds out this morning, therefore Ile take my leaue of thee, and meet thee where thou wilt about one of the clocke. Nay good sir, quoth the Barber, go with me now: for I Purpose, God willing, to be at Brainford to night. Saist thou so, quoth George, why then Ile tell thee what thou shalt doe: thou art here a stranger, and altogether vnknowne, lend me thy cloake and thy hat, and do thou put on my greene Jerkin, and Ile go with thee directly along. The Barber loth to leaue him untill he had his Lute, yeelded to the change. So when they came to the Gentlemans porch, he put on Georges greene Jerkin, and his Spanish hat, and he the Barbers cloake and his hat. Either of them being thus fitted, George knocks at the doore, to whom the Porter bids heartliy welcome, for George was well knowne, who at that time had all the ouersight of the Pageants: he desires the Porters to bid his friend welcome, for he is a good fellow and a keeper, M. Porter, one that at his pleasure can bestow a haunch of Venison on you; Marry that can I, quoth the Barber. I thanke you sir, answered the Porter, M. Peele, my Master is in the Hall, pleaseth it you to walk in? With all my heart, quoth George, in the meane time let my friend beare you company. That he shall M. Peele, quoth the Porter, and if it please him he shall take a simple dinner with me. The Barber giues him hearty thankes, not misdoubting M. Peele any way, seeing him known; and himselfe so welcome; fell in chat with the Porter. George Peele goes directly to the Alderman, who now is come into the Court; in the eye of the Barber, where George after many complaints, draws a blacke paper out of his bosome, and making action to the Barber reads to the Alderman, as followeth; I humbly desire your worship to stand my friend in a sleight matter, yonder hard fauoured knaue, that sits by your Worships Porter, hath dog'd me to arrest me, and I had no other means but to take your worships house for shelter, the occasion is but triuiall, only for stealing of a peece of flesh, my selfe consorted with 3. or 4. Gentlemen of good fashion, that would not willingly haue our names come in question. Therefore this is my boone, that your worship would let one of your seruants let mee out at the Garden doore, and I shall thinke my selfe much indebted to your Worship. The kind Gentleman little dreaming of George Peeles deceit, tooke him into the Parlor, gaue him a brace of Angels, and caused one of his seruants to let George out at the Garden doore; which was no sooner opened, but George made way for the Barber seeing him any more, and all the way he went he could not chuse but laugh at his knauish conceit, how he had guld the simple Barber, who sate all this while with the Porter blowing of his nailes: to whom came this fellow that let out George. You whorson Keeperly Rascall, quoth the fellow, doe you come to arrest any honest Gentleman in my Masters house? Not I, so God helpe me, quoth the Barber, I pray sir where is the Gentleman M. Peele that came along with me? Farre enough, quoth the fellow, for your comming neere him, he is gone out at the Garden doore. Garden doore, quoth the Barber, why, have you any more doores than one? We haue sir, and get you hence or Ile set you going goodman Keeper. Alas, quoth the Barber, sir I am no Keeper, I am quite vndone: I am a Barber dwelling at Brainford, and with weeping teares vp and told him how George had vsed him. The seruant goes in and tels his Master: which when he heard, he could not but laugh at the first: yet in pitty of the poore Barber, he gaue him twenty shillings towards his losse. The Barber sighing tooke it, and towards Brainford home he goes, and whereas he came from thence in a new Cloake and a faire Hat, he went home weeping in an old Hat, and greene Jerkin.
How George Peele became a Physician.
GEorge on a time being happily furnished both of horse and mony, though the horse he hired, and the money he borrowed: but no matter how he was possest of them: and towards Oxford he rides to make merrie with his friends and fellow students: and in his way he tooke vp Wickham, where he soiourned that night: being at supper, accompanied with his Hostis, among other table-talke, they fell into discourse of Chirurgerie, of which my Hostis was a simple professour. George Peele obseruing the humour of my shee Chirurgian; upheld her in all the strange cures she talked of, and praised her womanly endeuour; telling her, he loued her so much the better, because it was a thing that he professed, both Physicke and Chirurgerie: and George had a Dictionarie of Physicall words, that it might set a better glosse vpon that which he seemingly profest: and told his good Hostis at his returne he would teach her something that should doe her no hurt: for (quoth he) at this instant I am going about a great Cure as farre as Warwick-shire, to a Gentleman of great living, and one that hath beene in a Consumption this halfe yeare, and I hope to doe him good. O God (quoth the Hostis) there is a Gentleman not a quarter of a Mile off, that hath beene a long time sicke of the same disease: Beleeue me, sir, quoth the Hostis, would it please your worship e're your departure in the morning, but to visit the Gentleman, and but spend your opinion of him, and I make no question but the Gentlewoman will be very thankfull to you. In faith (quoth George) haply at my returne I may; but at this time my haste is such that I cannot: and so good night mine Hostis. So away went George to bed; and my giddy Hostis, right of the nature of most women, thought that night as long as ten, till she was deliuered of that burthen of newes which she had receiued from my new Doctor: (for so he termed himself.) Morning being come, at breake of the day mine Hostis trudges to this Gentlemans house, acquainted his wife what an excellent man she had at her house: protesting he was the best seene in Physicke, and had done the most strangest cures that euer she heard of: saying that if she would but send for him, no question he would do him good. The gentlewoman glad to heare of any thing that might procure the health of her Husband, presently sent one of her men to desire the Doctor to come and visit her Husband: Which message when George heard, he wondred; for he had no more skill in Physicke, than in Musicke; and they were as distant both from him, as heauen from hell. But, to conclude, George set a bold face on it, and away went he to the sicke Gentleman; where when he came, after some complement to the Gentlewoman, he was brought to the Chamber, where the ancient Gentleman lay wonderfull sicke, for all Physicke had giuen him ouer: George begins to feele his Pulses, and his Temples, saying, he was very farre spent: yet, quoth he, vnder God, I will doe him some good, if Nature be not quite extinct. Whereupon he demanded whether they had euer a Garden? That I haue, quoth the Gentlewoman. I pray you direct me thither, quoth George: Where when he came, he cut a handful of euery flower, herb and blossome, or whatsoeuer else in the Garden, and brought them in the lapid of his cloake, boyled them in Ale, strained them, boiled them againe; and when he had all the iuyce out of them, of which he made some pottle of drinke, he caused the sicke Gentleman to drinke off a maudlin Cupfull, and willed his wife to giue him of that same at morning, noone, and night: protesting, if any thing in this world did him good, it must be that: giuing great charge to the Gentlewoman to keepe him wonderfull warme: and at my returne, quoth George, some ten daies hence, I will returne and see how he fares: For, quoth he, by that time some thing will be done, and so I will take my leaue. Not so, quoth the Gentlewoman, your worship must needs stay and take a simple dinner with me to day. Indeed, quoth George, I cannot now stay; my haste is such, I must presently to Horse.You may suppose George was in haste vntill he was out of the Gentlewomans house: for he knew not whether he had poysoned the Gentleman or not, which made him so eager to be gone out of the Gentleman's house. The Gentlewoman seeing she could by no meanes stay him gaue him two brace of Angels, which neuer shined long in his purse, and desired him at his returne to know her house: which George promised, and with seeming nicenesse took the gold, and towards Oxford went he, forty shillings heauier than he was, where he brauely domineered while his Physicall money lasted. But to see the strangenesse of this: Whether it was the vertue of some herbe which he gathered, or the conceit the Gentleman had of George Peele, but it so pleased God the Gentleman recouered; and in eight daies walked abroad; and that fortunate potion which George made at randome, did him more good than many pounds that he had spent in halfe a yeare before in Physicke. George his money being spent, he made his returne towards London; and when he came within a mile of the Gentlemans house, he inquired of a countrey fellow how such a Gentleman did. The fellow told him God be praised, his good Landlord was well recouered by a vertuous Gentleman that came this way by chance. Art thou sure of it, quoth George? Yes, beleeue me, quoth the fellow; I saw him in the fields but this morning. This was no simple newes to George. He presently set spurres to his Horse, and whereas hee thought to shun the towne, he went directly to his Inne: at whose arriuall, the Hostis clapt her hands, the Oastler laught, the Tapster leapt, the Chamberlaine ran to the Gentlemans house, and told him the Doctor was come. How ioyfull the Gentleman was, let them imagine that haue any after-healths. George Peele was sent for, and after a million of thanks from the Gentleman, and his friends, George Peele had twenty pounds deliuered him: which money, how long it was a spending, let the Tauernes in London witnesse.
How George helped his friend to a Supper.
GEorge was inuited one night by certaine of his friends to supper, at the White Horse in Friday Street; and in the Euening as he was going, he met with an old friend of his, who was so ill at the stomacke, hearing George tell him of the good cheere he went to, himselfe being unprouided both of meat and mony, that he swore he had rather haue gone a mile about than haue met him at that instant. And belieue me, quoth George, I am hartily sorry that I cannot take thee along with me, my selfe being but an inuited guest; besides, thou art out of cloathes, vnfitting for such a company: Marry this Ile doe, if thou wilt follow my aduice, Ile helpe thee to thy supper. Any way, quoth he to George, doe thou but devise the meanes, and Ile execute it. George presently told him what he should doe; so they parted. George well entertained, with extraordinary welcome, and seated at the vpper end of the Table, Supper being brought vp. H. M. watched his time below; and when he saw that the meat was carried vp, vp he followes (as George had directed him,) who when George saw, You whorson Rascall (quoth George) what make you here? Sir, quoth he, I am come from the party you wot of. You Rogue, (quoth George) haue I not forewarned you of this? I pray you, Sir, quoth he, heare my Errand. Doe you prate, you slaue, quoth George, and with that tooke a Rabbet out of the Dish, and threw it at him. Quoth he, you vse me very hardly. You Dunghill, quoth George doe you out-face me? and with that tooke the other Rabbet, and threw it at his head; after that a Loafe; then drawing his dagger making an offer to throw it, the Gentlemen staid him; meane while H. M. got the Loafe and the two Rabbets, and away he went: which when George saw he was gone, after a little fretting, he sate quietly. So by that honest shift he helped his friend to his supper, and was neuer suspected for it of the company.
How George Peele was shauen, and of the reuenge he tooke.
THere was a Gentleman that dwelt in the West Countrey, and had stayed here in London a Tearme longer than hee intended, by reason of a Booke that George had to translate out of Greeke into English: and when he wanted money, George had it of the Gentleman: but the more he supplied him of Coine, the further off he was from his Booke, and could get no end of it, neither by faire meanes, entreaty, or double paiment; for George was of the Poetical disposition, neuer to write so long as his mony lasted, some quarter of the booke being done, and lying in his hands at randome: The Gentleman had plotted a means to take such an order with George next time hee came, that hee would haue his Booke finished. It was not long before he had his company; his arriuall was for more mony: the Gentleman bids him welcome, causeth him to stay dinner, where falling into discourse about his Booke, found that it was as neere ended as he left it two moneths agoe. The Gentleman, meaning to be guld no longer, caused two of his men to binde George, hand and foot in a Chaire: a folly it was to ask them what they meant by it: the Gentleman sent for a Barber, and George had a beard of an indifferent size, and well growne, he made the Barber shaue him beard and head, left him as bare of haire, as he was of money: the Barber he was well contented for his paines, who left George like an old woman in mans apparell; and his voyce became it well, for it was more woman than man. George, quoth the Gentleman, I haue alwaies vsed you like a friend, my purse hath beene open to you; that you haue of mine to translate, you know it is a thing I highly esteeme, therefore I haue vsed you in this fashion, that I might haue an end of my Booke, which shall be as much for your profit as my pleasure. So forthwith he commanded his men to vnbinde him, and putting his hand into his pocket, gaue him two brace of Angels: quoth he, M. Peele, drinke this, and by that time you haue finished my booke, your beard will be growne, vntill which time I know you will be ashamed to walke abroad. George patiently tooke the gold, said little, and when it was darke night, tooke his leaue of the Gentleman, and went directly home: who when his wife saw, I omit the wonder she made, but imagine those that shall behold their husbands in such a case. To bed went G[eorge,] and ere morning he had plotted sufficiently how to cry quid pro quo with his politicke Gentleman.
The Iest of George Peele at Bristow.
GEorge was at Bristow, and there staying some what longer than his coine would last him, his Palfrey that should be his Carrier to London, his head was growne so big, that he could not get him out of the stable. It so fortuned at that instant, certaine Players came to the Towne, and lay at that Inne where George Peele was: to whom George was well knowne, being in that time an excellent Poet, and had acquaintance of most of the best Plaiers in England: from the triuiall sort he was but so so; of which these were, onely knew George by name, no otherwise. There was not past three of the company come with the Carriage, the rest was behinde, by reason of a long Journey they had, so that night they could not enact, which George hearing, had presently a Stratageme in his head to get his Horse free out of the stable, and Money in his purse to beare his charges vp to London. And thus it was: He goes directly to the Mayor, tels him he was a Scholler and a Gentleman, and that he had a certaine History of the Knight of the Rodes; and withall, how Bristow was first founded and by whom, and a briefe of all those that before him had succeeded in Office in that worshipful Citie: desiring the Mayor, that he with his presence, and the rest of his Brethren, would grace his labours. The Mayor agreed to it, gaue him leaue, and withall appointed him a place, but for himselfe he could not be there, being in the euening: but bade him make the best benefit he could of the Citie, and very liberally gaue him an Angel, which George thankfully receiues, and about the businesse he goes, got his stage made, his History cried, and hired the Players Apparell, to florish out his Shew, proiominsing to pay them liberally; and withall desired them they would fauour him so much, as to gather him his money at the doore, (for hee thought it his best course to imploy them, lest they should spie out his knauery, for they haue perillous heads.) They willingly yeeld to do him any kindnesse that lies in them; in briefe, carry their apparell to the Hall, place themselues at the doore, where George in the meane time with the ten shillings he had of the Mayor, deliuered his horse out of Purgatory, and carries him to the townes end, and there placeth him, to be ready at his comming. By this time the Audience were come, and so forty shillings gathered, which money George put in his purse, and putting on one of the Players silke Robes, after the Trumpet had sounded thrice, out he comes, makes low obeysance, goes forward with his Prologue, which was thus:A trifling Toy, a Iest of no account, pardie.Which being said, after some fire workes that he had made of purpose, threw out among them, and downe staires goes he, gets to his Horse, and so with fortie shillings to London; leaues the Players to answer it; who when the Jest was knowne, their innocence excused them, being as well gulled as the Maior and the Audience.
The Knight, perhaps you thinke for to be I:
Thinke on so still; for why you know that thought is free,
Sit still a while, Ile send the Actors to yee.
How George gulled a Punke, otherwise called
COmming to London, hee fell in company with a Cockatrice; which pleased his eye so well, that George fell aboording of her, and proffered her the wine: which my Croshabell willingly accepted: to the Tauerne they go, where after a little idle talke, George fell to the question about the thing you wot of. My she-Hobby was very dainty, which made George farre more eager; and my lecherous animall proffered largely to obtaine his purpose. To conclude, nothing she would grant vnto except ready coine, which was forty shillings, not a farthing lesse: if so he would, next night she would appoint him where he should meet her. George saw how the game went, that she was more for lucre than for loue, thus cunningly answered her: Gentlewoman, howsoeuer you speake, I do not thinke youe heart agrees with your tongue; the money you demand is but to trie me, and indeed but a trifle to me: but because it shall not be said I bought that Iemme of you I prize so highlie, Ile giue you a token to morrow, that shall be more worth than your demand, if so you please to accept it. Sir, quoth shee, it contenteth me well: and so, if please you, at this time weele part, and to morrow in the euening meet you where you shall appoint. The place was determined, and they kist and parted, she home, George into Saint Thomas Apostles, to a friend of his, of whom he knew he could take vp a peticoat of trust: (the first letter of his name begins with G.) A Peticoat he had of him, at the price of fiue shillings; which money is owing till this day. The next night being come, they met at the place appointed, which was a Tauerne: there they were to suppe: that ended, George was to goe home with her, to end his Yeomans plee in her common case. But Master Peele had another drift in his mazzard: for he did so ply her with wine, that in a small time she spun such a threed, that she reeled homewards, and George he was faine to be her supporter: whe to her house she came, with nothing so much painting in the inside, as her face had on the outside; with much ado her maide had her to bed, who was no sooner layd, but she fell fast asleepe; which when George perceiued, he sent the maide for Milke, and a quart of Sacke to make a Posset; where before her returne, George made so bold as to take vp his owne new Petticoat, a faire Gowne of hers, two gold Rings that lay in the window, and away he went: the Gowne and the gold Rings he made a chaffer of; the Petticoat he gaue to his honest wife, one of the best deeds he euer did to her. How the Croshabell lookt when she awaked and saw this, I was neuer there to know.
How the Gentleman was gulled for shauing of George.
GEorge had a Daughter of the age of tenne yeers, a Girle of a prettie forme, but of an excellent wit: all part of her was Father, saue her middle: and she had George so tutored all night, that although himselfe was the Author of it, yet had he beene transformed into his Daughters shape, he could not haue done it with more conceit. George at that time dwelt at the Bank-side, from whence comes this she-sinnow, early in the morning with her hair disheuelled, wringing her hands, and making such pitifull moane with shrikes and teares, and beating of her brest, that made the people in a maze: some wondering at the child, others plucked her to know the occasion; but none could stay her by any meanes, but on she kept her iourney, crying, O, her Father, her good Father, her deare Father, ouer the Bridge, thorow Cheapeside, and so to the Olde Bailey, where the Gentleman soiourned, there sitting her selfe downe, an hundred people gaping vpon her, there she begins to cry out, Woe to that place, that her Father euer saw it, shee was a cast-away, her Mother was vndone, till with the noyse, one of the Gentlemans men comming downe, looked on her, and knew her to be George Peeles Daughter: hee presently runes vp, and tels his Master: who commanded his man to bring her vp. The Gentleman was in a cold sweat, fearing that George had for the wrong he did him the day before, some way vndone himselfe. When the Girle came vp, he demanded the cause why she so lamented, and called vpon her Father? George his flesh and bloud, after a million of sighes, cried out vpon him, he had made her Father, her good father, drown himselfe. Which words once vttered, she fell into a counterfeit swoone, whom the Gentleman soone recouered. This newes went to his heart, and he being a man of a very mild condition, cheered vp the Girle, made his men to go buy her new cloathes fro[m] top to toe, said he would be a father to her, gaue her fiue pounds, bid her go home and carry it to her mother, and in the euening he would visit her: At this, by little and little she began to be quiet, desiring him to come and see her Mother. He tels her he will not faile, bids her goe home quietly. So downe staires goes she peartly, and the wondring people that staid at doore to heare the manner of her griefe, had of her nought but knauish answers, and home she went directly. The Gentleman was so crossed in minde, and disturbed in thought at this vnhappy accident, that his soule could not be in quiet till he had beene with this wofull widdow, as he thought, and presently went to Blacke Friers, tooke a paire of Oares, and went directly to George Peeles house, where he found his Wife plucking of Larks, my crying Crocadile turning of the spit, and George pind vp in a blanket at his translation. The Gentleman, more glad at the unlookt for life of George, than the losse of his money, tooke part of the good cheere George had to supper, wondred at the cunning of the Wench, and within some few daies after had an end of his Booke.
How George read a Play-booke to a Gentleman.
THere was a Gentleman, whom God had indued with good liuing to maintaine his small wit: he was not a Foole absolute, although in this world he had good fortune: and he was in a manner an Ingle to George, one that tooke great delight to haue the first hearing of any worke that George had done, himselfe being a Writer, and had a Poeticall inuention of his owne, which when he had with great labour finished, their fatall end was for priuy purposes. This selfe-conceited brocke had George inuented to halfe a score sheets of Paper; whose Christianly pen had writ Finis to the famous Play of the Turkish Mahomet, and Hyrin the faire Greeke, in Italian called a Curtezan, in Spaine, a Margarite, French, Vn Curtain; in England, among the barbarous, a Whore; but among the Gentle, their vsuall associates, a Puncke: buit now the word refined being latest, and the authority brought from a Climate as yet vnconquered, the fruitfull County of Kent, they call them Croshabell, which is a word but lately vsed, and fitting with their trade, being of a louely and courteous condition. Leauing them: This Fantasticke, whose braine was made of nought but Corke and Spunge, came to the cold lodging of Monsieur Peele, in his blacke Sattin Sute, his Gowne furred with Coney, in his Slippers: being in the euening, he thought to heare Georges book, and so to returne to his Inne; (this not of the wisest, being of S. Bernards.) George bids him welcome, told him he would gladly haue his opinion in his booke. He willingly condescended, and George begins to reade, and betweene euery Sceane he would make pauses, and demand his opinion how he liked the cariage of it. Quoth he, wondrous well, the conueyance. O, but (quoth George) the end is farre better: for he meant another conueyance ere they two departed.) George was very tedious in reading, and the night grew old: I protest, quoth the Gentleman, I haue stayed ouer-long, I feare me I shall hardly get into mine Inne. If you feare that, quoth George, we will haue a cleane paire of sheets, and you take a simple lodging here. This house-gull willingly embraced it, and to bed they goe, where George in the midst of the night spying his time, put on the Dormouse his cloaths, desired God to keepe him in good rest, honestly takes leaue of him and the house, to whom he was indebted foure Nobles. When the Drone awaked, and found himself so left, he had not the wit to be angry, but swore scuruily at his misfortune, and said, I thought he would not haue vsed me so. And although it so pleased the Fates he had another sute to put on, yet he could not get thence, till he had paid the mony George ought to the house, which for his credit he did: and when he came to his lodging, in anger he made a Poem of it:Peele is no Poet, but a Gull and a Clowne,
To take away my Cloaths and Gowne:
I vow by Ioue, if I can see him weare it,
Ile giue him a glyg, and patiently beare it.
How George Peele serued halfe a score Citizens.
GEorge once had inuited halfe a score of his friends to a great Supper, where they were passing merry, no cheare wanting, wine enough, musicke playing: the night growing on, and being vpon departure, they call for a eckoning. George swears there is not a penny for them to pay. They, being men of good fashion, by no meanes will yeeld vnto it, but euery man throwes downe his money, some ten shillings, some fiue, some more: protesting something they will pay. Well, quoth George, taking vp all the mony; seeing you will be so wilfull, you shall see what shall follow: he commands the musicke to play, and while they were skipping and dancing, George gets his cloake, sends vp two pottles of Hypocrasse, and leaues them and the reckoning to pay. They wondring at the stay of George, meant to be gone, but they were staid by the way, and before they went, forced to pay the reckoning anew. This shewed a minde in him, he cared not whom he decieued, so he profited himselfe for the present.
A Iest of George going to Oxford.
THere was some halfe doozen of Citizens, that had oftentimes been solliciters with George, he being a Master of Art at the Uniuersity of Oxford, that he would ride with them to the Commencement, it being at Midsomer. George, willing to pleasure the Gentlemen his friends, rode along with them. When they had rode the better part of the way, they baited at a Village called Stoken, fiue miles from Wickam: good cheare was bespoken for dinner, and frolicke was the company, all but George, who could not be in that pleasant veine that did ordinarily possesse him, by reason he was without mony: but he had not fetched forty turns about the chamber, before his noddle had entertained a conceit how to mony himselfe with credit, and yet gleane it from some one of the company. There was among them one excellent Asse, a fellow that did nothing but friske vp and downe the Chamber, that his mony might be heard chide in his pocket: this fellow had George obserued, and secretly conuaied his gilt Rapier and Dagger into another Chamber, and there closely hid it: that done, he called vp the Tapster, and upon his cloake borrowes fiue shilling for an hour or so, till his man came, (as he could fashion it well enough:) so much mony he had, and then who more merry than George? Meat was brought vp, they set themselues to dinner, all full of mirth, especially my little foole, who dranke not of the conclusion of their feast: dinner ended, much prattle past, euery man begins to buckle to his furniture: among whom this Hichcocke missed his Rapier: at which all the company were in a maze; he besides his wits, for he had borrowed it of a speciall friend of his, and swore he had rather spend 20 Nobles. This is strange, quoth George, it should be gone in this fashion, none being here but our selues, and the fellows of the house, who were examined, but no Rapier could be heard of: all the company were much grieued; but George in a pittiful chafe, swore it should cost him forty shillings, but he would know what was become of it, if Art could doe it: and with that he caused the Oastler to saddle his Nag, for George would ride to a Scholler, a friend of his, that had skill in such matters. O, good M. Peele, quoth the fellow, want no mony, here is forty shillings, see what you can doe, and if you please, Ile ride along with you. Not so, quoth George, taking his forty shillings, Ile ride alone, and be you as merry as you can till my returne. So George left them, and rode directly to Oxford, there he acquaints a friend of his with all the circumstance, who presently tooke Horse and rode along with him to laugh at the iest. When they came back, George tels them he had brought one of the rarest men in England: whom they with much complement bid welcome. He, after a distracted countenance, and strange words, takes this Bulfinch by the wrist, and carried him into the priuy, and there willed him to put in his head, but while he had written his name, and told forty: which he willingly did: that done the Scholar asked him what he saw? By my faith Sir, I smelt a villainous sent, but I saw nothing. Then I haue, quoth he, and with that directed him where his Rapier was: saying, it is iust North-East, inclosed in wood neare the earth: for which they all made diligent search, till George, who hid it under a settle, found it, to the comfort of the fellow, the ioy of the company, and the eternall credit, of his friend, who was entertained with wine and sugar; and George redeemed his cloake, rode merrily to Oxford, hauing coine in his pocket, where this Loach spares not for any expence, for the good fortune he had in the happy finding of his Rapier.
How George serued his Hostis.
GEorge lying at an old Widdowes house, and had gone so farre on the score, that his credit would stretch no farther: for she had made a vow not to depart with drinke or victuals without ready mony:: Which George seeing the fury of his froward Hostis, in griefe kept his chamber, called to his Hostis, and told her, she should vnderstand that he was not without mony, how poorely soeuer he appeared to her, and that my diet shall testifie: in the meane time, good Hostis, quoth he, send for such a friend of mine. She did, so his friend came, to whom George imparted his minde, the effect whereof was this, to pawne his Cloake, Hose and Doublet, vnknowne to his Hostis: for, quoth George, this seuen nights doe I intend to keepe my bed. (Truly he spake, for his intent was, the bed should not keepe him any longer.) Away goes he to pawne his apparell; George bespeakes good cheere to supper, which was no shamble-butchers stuffe, but according to the place: for, his Chamber being remote from the house, at the end of the Garden, his apparell being gone, it appeared to him as the Counter, therefore to comfort himselfe, he dealt in Poultry. His friend brought the mony, supped with him, his Hostis he very liberally paid, but cauilled with her at her vnkindnesse; vowing that while he lay there, none should attend him but his friend. The Hostis replied, a Gods name, she was well contented with it: so was George too: for none knew better than himselfe what he intended, but in briefe, thus he vsed his kind Hostis. After his apparell and mony was gone, he made with the Feather bed he lay on, which his friend slily conueyed away, hauing as villanous a Wolfe in his belly as George, though not altogether so wise, for that Feather-bed they deuoured in two dayes, feathers and all: which was no sooner digested, but away went the Couerlet, Sheets, and the Blanket; and at the last dinner, when Georges good friend perceiuing nothing left but the bed-cords, as the Deuill would haue it, straight came in his mind the fashion of a halter, the foolish knave would needs fetch a quart of sacke for his friend George; which sacke to this day neuer saw Vintners Cellar: and so he left George in a cold Chamber, a thin shirt. a rauished bed, no comfort left him, but the bare bones of deceased Capons. In this distresse George bethought him what he might doe, nothing was left him; and his eye wandered vp and downe the empty Chamber, by chance he spied out an old Armor, at which sight George was the ioyfullest man in Christendome, for the Armour of Achilles, that Vlysses and Aiax stroue for, was not more precious to them, than this to him: for he presently claps it vpon his backe, the Halbert in his hand, the Moryon on his head, and so gets out the backe way, marches from Shoreditch to Clarkenwell, to the no small wonder of those spectators that beheld him. Being arriued to the wished hauen he would be, and old acquaintance of his furnished him with an old Sute, and an old Cloake for his old Armour. How the Hostis looked when she saw that metamorphosis in her chamber, iudge those Bomborts that liue by tapping, between the age of fifty and threescore.
How he serued a Tapster.
GEorge was making merry with three or four of his friends in Pye-corner, where the Tapster of the house was much giuen to Poetry: for he had ingrossed the Knight of the Sunne, Venus and Adonis, and other Pamphlets which the strippling had collected together, and knowing George to be a Poet, he tooke great delight in his company, and out of his bounty would bestow a brace of Cannes of him. George obseruing the humour of the Tapster, meant presently to worke vpon him. What will you say, quoth George to his friends, if out of this spirit of the Cellar I fetch a good Angell that shall bid vs all to supper. Wee would gladly see that, quoth his friends. Content your selfe quoth George. The Tapster ascends with his two Cannes, deliuers one to M. Peele, and the other to his friends, giues them kinde welcome: but George in stead of giuing him thanks, bids him not to trouble him, and begins in these termes. I protest, Gentlemen, I wonder you will vrge me so much, I sweare I haue it not about me. What is the matter, quoth the Tapster, hath any one angered you? No faith, quoth George, Ile tell thee, it is this: There is a friend of ours in Newgate, for nothing but onely the command of the Justices, and he being now to be released, sends me to bring him an Angell: Now the man I loue dearely well, and if he want ten Angels, he shall haue them, for I know him sure: but heres the misery, either I must goe home, or I must be forced to pawne this, an old Harry groat out of his pocket. The Tapster lookes vpon it: Why, and it please you sir, quoth he, this is but a groat. No Sir, quoth George, I know it is but a groat: but this groat will I not lose for forty pounds: for this groat had I of my Mother, as a testimony of a Lease of a house I am to possesse after her decease: and if I should lose this groat, I were in a faire case: and either I must pawne this groat, or there the fellow must lie still. Quoth the Tapster, If it please you, I will lend you an Angell on it, and I will assure you it shall be safe. Wilt thou, quoth George? as thou art an honest man, lock it vp in thy Chest, and let me haue it whensoeuer I call for it. As I am an honest man, you shall, quoth the Tapster. George deliuered him his groat: the Tapster gaue him ten shillings: to the Tauerne goe they with the money, and there merrily spend it. It fell out in a small time after, the Tapster hauing many of these lurches, fell to decay, and indeed was turned out of seruice, hauing no more coin in the world than this groat; and in this misery he met George as poore as himselfe. O sir, quoth the Tapster, you are happily met; I haue your groat safe, though since I saw you last, I haue bid great extremity; and I protest, saue that groat, I haue not one penny in the world; Therefore I pray you Sir, helpe me to my mony, and take your pawne. Not for the world, quoth George, thou saist thou hast but that groat in the world, my bargaine was, that thou shouldst keepe that groat vntill I did demand it of thee: I aske thee none. I will do thee more good, because thou art an honest fellow, keepe that groat still, till I call for it: and so doing, the proudest Jacke in England cannot iustifie thou art not worth a groat, otherwise they might: and so, honest Michael, farewell. So George leaues the poor Tapster picking of his fingers, his head full of proclamations what he might doe: at last sighing he ends with this Prouerbe:For the price of a barrel of Beere,
I haue bought a groats-worth of wit,
Is that not deare?
How George serued a Gentlewoman.
GEorge vsed often to an Ordnary in this Towne, where a kinswoman of the good wifes in the house, held a great pride and vaine opinion of her own mother-wit: for her tongue was as a Jack continually wagging: and for she had heard that George was a Scholler, she thought she would find a time to giue him notice, that she had as much in her head, as was euer in her Grandfathers: yet in some things she differed from the women of those dayes: for their naturall complexion was their beauty: now this Titmouse, what she is scanted by nature, she doth replenish by Art, as her boxes of red and white daily can testifie. But to come to George, who arriued at the Ordnary among other Gallants, throwes his cloake vpon the Table, salutes the Gentlemen, and presently calls for a cup of Canary. George had a paire of Hose on, that for some offence durst not bee seene in that hue they were first dyed in, but from his first colour being a youthfull green, his long age turned him into a mournfull black, and for his antiquity was in print: which this busie body perceiuing, thought how to giue it to him to the quicke: and drawing neere M. Peele, looking upon his breeches, by my troth, Sir, quoth shee, these are exceedingly well printed. At which word, George being a little moued in his mind, that his old hose were called in question, answered, and by my faith Mistris, quoth George, your face is most damnably ill painted. How mean you Sir, quoth shee? Marry this, Mistris, quoth George, That if it were not for printing and painting, my arse and your face would grow out of reparations. At which shee biting her lip, in a parat fury went downe the staires. The Gentlemen laughed at the sudden answer of George, and being seated at dinner, the Gentlemen would needes haue the company of this witty Gentlewoman to dine with them; who with little denying came, in hope to cry quittance with George. When she was ascended, the Gentlemen would needes place her by M. Peele; because they did vse to dart one at another, they thought it meet, for their more safety, they should be placed neerest together. George kindly entertains her: and being seated, he desires her to reach him the Capon that stood by her, and he would be so bold as to carue for his mony: And as she put out her arme to take the Capon, George sitting by her, yerks me out a huge fart, which made all the company in a maze, one looking upon the other, yet they knew it came that way. Peace, quoth George, and iogs her on the elbow, I will say it was I. At which all the Company fell into a huge laughter, shee into a fretting fury, vowing neuer she should sleepe quietly till she was reuenged of George his wrong done vnto her: and so in a great chafe left their company.
F I N I S.