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Within these few months; then you were the gallant:
Luke. I have paid dear
For those follies, my good lord; and 'tis but justice
Share in the miseries that wait upon it.
Your honour, in your charity, may do well
L. Lacy. I nor do, nor will;
And you shall find I'll lend a helping hand
To raise your fortunes: how deals your brother with you?
I am a free man, all my debts discharged;
Nor does one creditor, undone by me,
Curse my loose riots. I have meat and clothes,
Time to ask heaven remission for what 's past;
Cares of the world by me are laid aside,
My present poverty's a blessing to me;
The extravagance and pride of "The City Madam" and her daughters, who have rejected the suit of two honourable men in the wantonness of their ambition, determine Sir John Frugal, in concert with Lord Lacy, to give out that he has retired into a monastery, and has left all his riches to his brother. Luke soliloquizes upon his great
Luke. 'Twas no fantastic object, but a truth,
I saw and felt it! Yet what I beheld
Thou dumb magician,-[Taking out a key]--that without a charm Didst make my entrance easy, to possess
What wise men wish, and toil for! Hermes' moly,
Sibylla's golden bough, the great elixir,
Imagined only by the alchemist,
Compared with thee are shadows, -thou the substance,
And guardian of felicity! No marvel
My brother made thy place of rest his bosom,
The unthrift's power; there being scarce one shire
To draw in more. I am sublimed! gross earth
Luke, who, in his abasement, was all gentleness and humility, treats his brother's creditors with the most wanton harshness; and degrades his sister-in-law and nieces to the condition of menials. The ladies appear before him, clothed in the coarsest weeds :—
Luke. Save you, sister!
I now dare style you so: you were before
Too glorious to be look'd on, now you appear
Like a city matron; and my pretty nieces
Such things as were born and bred there. Why should you ape
And pedigrees of long descent, give warrant
L. Frugal. Is this spoken
Luke. Fie! no; with judgement. I make good
L. Frugal. It is confess'd, sir.
Luke. Sir! sirrah: use your old phrase, I can bear it.
L. Frugal. That, if you please, forgotten, we acknowledge
We have deserv'd ill from you; yet despair not,
Though we are at your disposure, you 'll maintain us
Like your brother's wife and daughters.
Luke. 'Tis my purpose.
L. Frugal. And not make us ridiculous.
As fair examples for our proud city dames,
And their proud brood to imitate. Do not frown;
If you do, I laugh, and glory that I have
And in a gentle phrase I'll reprehend
L. Frugal. We are bound to hear you.
Luke. With a soul inclined to learn. Your father was
By his neighbours ne'er call'd master. Did your pride
To the rank of a merchant's wife. He made a knight,
A velvet hood, rich borders, and sometimes
A dainty miniver-cap, a silver pin,
Headed with a pearl worth three-pence, and thus far
It being for the city's honour that
There should be a distinction between
The wife of a patrician, and plebeian.
Milliscent. Pray you, leave preaching, or choose some other text;
Your rhetoric is too moving, for it makes
Your auditory weep.
Luke. Peace, chattering magpie!
I'll treat of you anon:-but when the height
By which you were raised, my brother's fond indulgence,
To buzz into your ears what shape this countess
The young lord's eyes upon her; and this usher
L. Frugal. Pray you, end.
Holdfast (Sir John Frugal's steward). Proceed, sir; I could fast almost a prenticeship to hear you, You touch them so to the quick.
Luke. Then, as I said,
The reverend hood cast off, your borrow'd hair,
And roses worth a family: you were served in plate,
Your pomp, you were tickled when the beggars cried,
Paid to a painted room.
And when you lay
In childbed, at the christening of this minx,
I well remember it, as you had been
An absolute princess, since they have no more,
To cover the brat's cradle; you in state,
L. Frugal. No more, I pray you.
I'll cut off