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Whither I go, nor reason whereabout:
Lady. How! so far?
Hot. Not an inch further. But hark you, Kate :
It must of force. [Exeunt.
SCENE IV. - Eastcheap. A Room in the Boar's-Head
Enter Prince HENRY.
Prince. Ned, pr’ythee, come out of that fat room,” and lend me thy hand to laugh a little.
Enter POINTZ. Pointz. Where hast been, Hal?
1 Eastcheap is selected with propriety for the scene of the Prince's merry meetings, as it was near his own residence; a mansion called Cold Harbour, near All-Hallows Church, Upper Thames Street, being granted to Henry, Prince of Wales. Shakespeare has hung up a sign for them that he saw daily; for the Boar's-Head Tavern was very near Blackfriars' Playhouse.
2 It does not well appear what room Pointz was in, or why it is called fat. To be sure, fat and vat were both used for what we call wine-vats. So in Antony and Cleopatra, ii. 7: "Come, thou monarch of the vine! in thy fats our cares be drown'd," &c. But, so, a fat-room would be in a place where wine was made, not in a tavern where it was drunk. See Critical Notes.
Prince. With three or four loggerheads 3 amongst three or fourscore hogsheads. I have sounded the very base-string of humility. Sirrah, I am sworn brother to a leash 4 of drawers; and can call them all by their Christian names, as, Tom, Dick, and Francis. They take it already upon their salvation, that though I be but Prince of Wales, yet I am the king of courtesy; and tell me flatly I am no proud Jack, like Falstaff, but a corinthian, a lad of mettle, a good boy,—by the Lord, so they call me ; and, when I am King of England, I shall command all the good lads in Eastcheap. They call drinking deep, dying scarlet; and, when you breathe in your watering, 6 they cry hem! and bid you play it off. To conclude, I am so good a proficient in one quarter of an hour, that I can drink with any tinker in his own language during my life. I tell thee, Ned, thou hast lost much honour, that thou wert not with me in this action. But, sweet Ned, to sweeten which name of Ned, I give thee this pennyworth of sugar, clapp'd even now into my hand by an under-skinker ;7 one that never spake other English in his life than Eight shillings
3 Loggerheads probably means blockheads.
4 Leash is properly a string or thong for leading a dog; and it came to signify a trio, because three dogs were usually coupled together.
5 Corinthian and Trojan appear to have been a sort of flash terms in use among the fast young men of the time. Corinthian probably had some reference to the morals of ancient Corinth. Milton, in his Apology for Smectymnus, speaks of “the sage and rheumatic old prelatess, with all her Corinthian laity."
6 To breathe in your watering is to stop and take breath when you are drinking. So in Rowland's Letting of Humour's Blood, 1600:
pox of piece-meal drinking, William says,
Play it away, we'll have no stoppes and stays. Also in Peacham's Compleat Gentleman : “If he dranke off his cups cleanely, took not his wind in his draught, spit not, left nothing in the pot, nor spilt any upon the ground, he had the prize.”
7 It appears that the drawers kept sugar folded up in paper, ready to be delivered to those who called for sack. — An under-skinker is a tapster, an under-drawer, Skink is from scenc, drink; Saxon.
and sixpence, and, You are welcome ; with this shrill addition, Anon, anon, sir! Score a pint of bastard in the Half-moon,
But, Ned, to drive away the time till Falstaff come, I pr’ythee, do thou stand in some by-room, while I question my puny drawer to what end he gave me the sugar; and do thou never leave calling Francis! that his tale to me may be nothing but anon. Step aside, and I'll show thee a precedent.
[Exit Pointz. Points. [Within.] Francis ! Prince. Thou art perfect. Pointz. [Within.] Francis !
Fran. Anon, anon, sir. — Look down into the Pomegranate, Ralph.
Prince. Come hither, Francis.
Prince. Five years ! by'r Lady, 10 a long lease for the clinking of pewter.11 But, Francis, darest thou be so valiant as to play the coward with thy indenture, and show it a fair pair of heels and run from it?
Fran. O Lord, sir, I'll be sworn upon all the books in England, I could find in my heart
8 Half-moon is used as the name of a room in the tavern; and so is Pomegranate a little after. – Score was a term for keeping accounts, when tally-sticks were in use.
- Bastard, it seems, was the name of a certain wine. In the Half-moon refers to the person occupying that room.
9 A precedent here means an example or specimen.
10 “ By our Lady" was a common oath; referring to Saint Mary the Virgin.
11 Probably meaning pewter cups for serving wine.
Pointz. [Within.] Francis !
Prince. Nay, but hark you, Francis : for the sugar thou gavest me, 'twas a pennyworth, was't not?
Fran. O Lord, sir, I would it had been two !
Prince. I will give thee for it a thousand pound : ask me when thou wilt, and thou shalt have it.
Pointz. [Within.] Francis !
Prince. Anon, Francis ? No, Francis; but to-morrow, Francis; or, Francis, on Thursday; or, indeed, Francis, when thou wilt. But, Francis,
Fran. My lord ?
Prince. - wilt thou rob this leathern-jerkin,13 crystal-button, nott-pated, agate - ring, puke - stocking, caddis - garter, smooth-tongue, Spanish-pouch,
Fran. O Lord, sir, who do you mean?
12 Michaelmas, the festival of St. Michael and All Angels, falls on the 29th of September.
13 The Prince refers to Francis's master, to whom he applies these contemptuous epithets. — Nott-pated is shorn-pated, or cropped; having the hair cut close. — Puke-stockings are dark-coloured stockings. Puke is a colour between russet and black. Caddis was probably a kind of ferret or worsted lace. A slight kind of serge still bears the name of cadis in France. 14 Bastard wines are said to be Spanish wines in general, by Olaus Mag
He speaks of them with almost as much enthusiasm as Falstaff does of sack. - Making a remark or asking a question utterly irrelevant to the matter in hand, is an old trick of humour. We have had it once before in the question, “And is not my hostess of the tavern a most sweet wench ? " Here it is used for the purpose of mystifying poor Francis. Ben Jonson calls it "a game of vapours."
drink; for, look you, Francis, your white canvas doublet will sully: in Barbary, sir, it cannot come to so much.
Fran. What, sir?
not knowing which way to go.
Vint. What, stand'st thou still, and hear'st such a calling ? Look to the guests within. [Exit FRANCIS.] — My lord, old Sir John, with half-a-dozen more, are at the door : shall I let them in ?
Prince. Let them alone awhile, and then open the door. [Exit Vintner.] - Pointz!
Pointz. Anon, anon, sir.
Prince. Sirrah, Falstaff and the rest of the thieves are at the door : shall we be merry?
Pointz. As merry as crickets, my lad. But hark ye; what cunning match have you made with this jest of the drawer? come, what's the issue?
Prince. I am now of all humours that have showed themselves humours since the old days of goodman Adam to the pupil age of this present twelve o'clock at midnight.15 What's o'clock, Francis ?
Fran. [Within.] Anon, anon, sir.
Prince. That ever this fellow should have fewer words than a parrot, and yet the son of a woman ! His industry is up-stairs and down-stairs ; his eloquence the parcel of a reckoning. I am not yet of Percy's mind, the Hotspur of
15 The Prince means, apparently, that he is now up to any sort of game that will yield sport and pass away the time.