Act 4, Scene III

Scene: A Room in the House of Venturewell.

Enter VENTUREWELL, HUMPHREY, LUCE, and Boy.

[Wife.    
But here comes Master Humphrey and his love again now, George.
Citizen.
Ay, cony; peace.]
Venturewell.
Go, get you up; I will not be entreated;
And, gossip mine, I'll keep you sure hereafter
From gadding out again with boys and unthrifts:
Come, they are women's tears; I know your fashion.—
Go, sirrah, lock her in, and keep the key
Safe as you love your life.
[Exeunt Luce and Boy.
Safe as you love your life. Now, my son Humphrey,
You may both rest assurèd of my love
In this, and reap your own desire.
Humphrey.
I see this love you speak of, through your daughter,
Although the hole be little; and hereafter
Will yield the like in all I may or can,
Fitting a Christian and a gentleman.
Venturewell.
I do believe you, my good son, and thank you;
For 'twere an impudence to think you flattered.
Humphrey.
It were, indeed; but shall I tell you why?
I have been beaten twice about the lie.
Venturewell.
Well, son, no more of compliment. My daughter
Is yours again: appoint the time and take her;
We'll have no stealing for it; I myself
And some few of our friends will see you married.
Humphrey.
I would you would, i'faith! for, be it known,
I ever was afraid to lie alone.
Venturewell.
Some three days hence, then.
Humphrey.
Three days! let me see:
'Tis somewhat of the most; yet I agree,
Because I mean against the appointed day
To visit all my friends in new array.

Enter Servant.

Servant.
Sir, there's a gentlewoman without would speak with your worship.
Venturewell.
What is she?
Servant.
Sir, I asked her not.
Venturewell.
Bid her come in.
[Exit Servant.

Enter Mistress MERRYTHOUGHT and MICHAEL.

Mistress Merrythought.
Peace be to your worship! I come as a poor suitor to you, Sir, in the behalf of this child.
Venturewell.
Are you not wife to Merrythought?
Mistress Merrythought.
Yes, truly. Would I had ne'er seen his eyes! he has undone me and himself and his children; and there he lives at home, and sings and hoits and revels among his drunken companions! but, I warrant you, where to get a penny to put bread in his mouth he knows not: and therefore, if it like your worship, I would entreat your letter to the honest host of the Bell in Waltham, that I may place my child under the protection of his tapster, in some settled course of life.
Venturewell.
I'm glad the heavens have heard my prayers. Thy husband,
When I was ripe in sorrows, laughed at me;
Thy son, like an unthankful wretch, I having
Redeemed him from his fall, and made him mine
To show his love again, first stole my daughter,
Then wronged this gentleman, and, last of all,
Gave me that grief had almost brought me down
Unto my grave, had not a stronger hand
Relieved my sorrows. Go, and weep as I did,
And be unpitied; for I here profess
An everlasting hate to all thy name.
Mistress Merrythought.
Will you so, Sir? how say you by that?—Come, Mick; let him keep his wind to cool his pottage. We'll go to thy nurse's, Mick: she knits silk stockings, boy; and we'll knit too, boy, and be beholding to none of them all.
[Exit with Michael.

Enter Boy.

Boy.    
Sir, I take it you are the master of this house.
Venturewell.
How then, boy!
Boy.    
Then to yourself, sir, comes this letter.
[Gives letter.
Venturewell.
From whom, my pretty boy?
Boy.    
From him that was your servant; but no more
Shall that name ever be, for he is dead:
Grief of your purchased anger broke his heart.
I saw him die, and from his hand received
This paper, with a charge to bring it hither:
Read it, and satisfy yourself in all.
Venturewell.
[Reads.] Sir, that I have wronged your love I must confess; in which I have purchased to myself, besides mine own undoing, the ill opinion of my friends. Let not your anger, good Sir, outlive me, but suffer me to rest in peace with your forgiveness: let my body (if a dying man may so much prevail with you) be brought to your daughter, that she may truly know my hot flames are now buried, and withal receive a testimony of the zeal I bore her virtue. Farewell for ever, and be ever happy! — JASPER.
God's hand is great in this: I do forgive him;
Yet I am glad he's quiet, where I hope
He will not bite again.—Boy, bring the body,
And let him have his will, if that be all.
Boy.    
'Tis here without, sir.
Venturewell.
So 'Sir; if you please,
You may conduct it in; I do not fear it.
Humphrey.
I'll be your usher, boy; for, though I say it,
He owed me something once, and well did pay it.
[Exeunt.