How the Lady T7rsula finding her selfe to be with child, 20 made her great moan vnto her husband Crispine, and

how he prouided for her a secret place, where she was deliuered.

IN the mean space the Lady Vrsula finding her selfe to be with child, and her vnknown husband coming one day with shooes

vnto her, she made her moan vnto him, saying: 0 Crzspzne, how shall we do? the time of my sorrow and shame draweth on; I feel that liuing in my womb, which I fear will bring death vpon vs all:

Why my dear lady (answered he) art thou with child? keep thy chamber close, and wittily excuse thy griefs, vntill I haue found

30 means to procure our safety.

But dost thou mean faithfully (said she) wilt thou not deceiue me, and for fear of my fathers wrath flue the country? if thou shouldest do so, then were I the wretchedst Lady aliue. Forsake me not sweet Crispine, whatsoeuer thou doest, but take me with thee wheresoeuer thou goest: it is not my fathers frowns that I regard, so I may haue thy fauour: what do I care for a Princely Pallace: an homely Cottage shall content me in thy company. 0 my Loue, I will rather learn to spin hemp for thy shop-threed, than hue without thee in the greatest pleasure.

40 I will not leaue thee my dear Loue (quoth he) by that faith I vow, which I phighted to thee at our blessed marriage; and therefore be contented, and it shall not be long before I return.

Leauing thus his sad lady, he came home and secretly brake

of the Gentle Craft. 103

the matter vnto his dame, desiring her counsell in this his extremity.

What, how now (quoth she) hast thou got a Maid with child? Ah thou whorson villain, thou hast vndone thy selfe, how wilt thou do now? Thou hast made a faire hand; here is now sixteen pence a week beside sope and candles, beds, shirts, biggins, wast­coats, headbands, swadlebands, crosse-clothes, bibs, tailclouts, mantles, hose, shooes, coats, petticoats, cradle and crickets, and beside that a standing-stole, and a posnet to make the child pap:

all this is come vpon thee, be sides the charges of her lying-in. ‘0 Oh Crispine, Crispine, I am heartily sorry for thee.

But, in good faith, if I knew the quean that hath brought thee to this folly; I would haue her by the face, I swear to you: for though I spake it before thee (Crispine) thou art a proper fellow, and thou mightest haue done full well if thou hadst had grace; God hath done his part on thee: and with that she began with kindnesse to weep. Whereupon her Husband, coming in, asked what she ailed

Oh man (said she) Crispine!

Why, why, what of Cris~ine? Tell me. Why speakest thou not? 20

We shall lose a good seruant, so we shall.

What seruant shall we lose foolish woman (quoth he?) Tell me quickly.

Ohusband! by Cock and Pie I swear, Ile haue her by the nose. Who wilt thou haue by the nose? What the Deuill, art thou mad, that thou wilt not answer me?

Crzcpine, who at his Masters coming shunned the roome, lending an eare vnto those words, went to his Master and said vnto him:

Sir, these foure yeeres haue I serued you; and the fifth draws neer to an end; and as I haue found you a good Master to me, so 30 I trust you haue had no great cause to complain of me, though (through ignorance) I haue sometimes made offence: and know­ing at this instant, no man so fleer a friend vnto me as your selfe, I haue thought good to impart my secret counsehl to you: some­thing I presume vpon my Dames fauour: which made me open that vnto her, which now I wish I had not discouered. Notwith­standing, resting more vpon your discretion than her secrecie, I would desire your counsell in a matter that concerns me very neer.

Verily (said his master) if it be a thing wherein I may do thee 40 good, thou shalt find that I will not fall from thee in thy sorrows, and therefore be not abashed to declare thy mind, for I swear, if I may procure thee right, thou shalt put vp no wrong.

Why then Sir, thus it is (quoth he) my will running before my wit, I haue gotten a Maiden with child, and I wot not in this case what to do, that I might preserue the Maid from shame, and I my selfe from discredit: besides, I doubt, if it be known, it will cost me my life: therefore, in such case good master be secret.


The pleasant History

Tush man feare not (quoth he) it is a matter of nothing: but I pray thee, now tell me what wanton wagtaile is that thou hast clapt thus vnder the apron?

0Master (quoth he) the Kings faire Daughter Vrsula is my Loue, and she it is that hues in care for my sake.

Passion of my heart, thou whorson Knaue (quoth his Master) thou art a dead man. I maruell how the Deuill thou camest to be so bold with her? Surely thou hast drawn on her shooes on Sunday, I may say, thou hast left so good a token behind: but in truth my boy I commend thee that thou wouldest shoot at the fairest.

Yea sir (quoth Crispine) and I haue hit the mark I trow, and do verily beleeue, that none will shoot so neere again.

Nay swear not (said his master), many may aim at faire marks and more then one man hits them now and then: but what wouldst thou haue me to do in this case?

My good master (quoth Crispine) the truth is, she is my wife; and the very same night my brother was prest to the warres, I was married to her: and if you could tell me how she might be

20 deliuered of her burden without any suspition, I should not only remain beholding to you while I hued, but would also gratifie your kindnesse in such sort as would content you.

His Dame all this while listned to their talk, and when she vnderstood he spake of the Kings daughter, and that he had married her, she said, Now Gods blessing on thy heart Grispine, that thou art so carefull for thy wife, but it maketh me wonder she should marrie a Shoomaker; and a poore fellow too.

Master and Dame (quoth Crispine), seeing I haue begun, lIe shew you a further matter as strange as the other. The

30 necessitie of these times makes many Noble personages to mask in simple habite, as Iupiter did in a shepherds weed; and the truth is, that Ladie Vrsu/a is not ignorant that by matching with me she hath wedded a Prince: and you may say, that these flue yeeres two Princes haue serued you obediently, vnder the simple borrowed names of Crispine and Crispianus. Our Royall Father was slaine by the Emperour Maximinzis, and the Queen our mother yet lies imprisoned, and your poore house, and these leather garments haue been our life of defence against the blood-thirsty Tyrant. Now you see, that though there were hate towards vs in

40 the father, yet there is loue yeelded vs by the daughter. This must be kept for a certain time from the knowledge of him, lest our hues pay a dear ransome for our loues.

Well, Cris~ine (quoth his Dame) be of good cheare, for I haue a deuice in my head, how to get thy Loue out of her fathers Pallace, that she may be brought to bed in my own house, without either hurt to thee, or dishonour to her, if thou wilt do as I wish thee. When you do perceiue that she grows neere vnto the time of her trauell, I would wish you to work such meanes as to set

of the Gentle Craft.


some tree on fire late in the night, that standeth somewhat neere one of the Beacons vpon the Sea coast, whereby it will follow that such Watchmen as watch at our Beacons, supposing the Beacons at the Sea coast to be on fire, will set theirs on fire also. Then will there be a great hurly burly, with the preparation of men at Armes on all sides, to withstand the supposed foe, that which they shall neuer find: then (as you know) Maximinus, with his houshold will be in most fear, because he is most hated, that whilest he is abroad, the rest of his houshold will euery one of them seek for their own safegard, amongst the which, let faire Vrsula be one, ‘0 who, by that meanes singling her selfe alone, may take vp my

house, and here she may be closely kept till she be deliuered, taking vpon her the name and hahite of a simple woman.

But the truth of this matter (quoth Crispine) I doubt it will soone be perceiued and found out; then how shall Ladie Vrsula do, for she will straight be missed.

Tush thats no matter (quoth his dame) and missed let her he, vntill such time as she is in a better case to go abroad againe; so in such a tumult as then will be, they will suppose many things, that one mischance or other is befallen her: or if she be in health, 20 that she hath wandred into the woods or some other vncouth place, where she might best prouide for safety: and when she comes home again, I warrant thee Grispine, she shall be welcome.

Then said his Master, I like my wiues counsell well ; therefore by my consent put it in practice:

Whereunto Crispine consented and so making the Lady priuie to the purpose, at length it was put in execution, at what time there was crying out on all sides, Arme, Arme, Arme: our enemies are coming vpon vs. Where (quoth they?) at Rutupium said

one; At Aut-ugagus Castle, said another: (quoth the third) it is at 30

Darn: I tell you (quoth the fourth) it is at Duur: And all this is but Douer (saith the fifth man) and at Douer it is vndoubt­edly, therefore haste, haste away: for neuer was there more need:

so that Maximinus was almost at his wits end, as one not knowing which way to turn, the cries of the people came so thick, one after another. The waiting gentle women left the Princesse, and sought their own safetie. Thus while some were busie in carrying out the Kings treasure, others hiding the plate, and others the goods, Vrsula had an easie passage into the Shoomakers house.

The young Prince Crispine was gone with the rest of the town 40 towards Douer, where when they came there was nothing to do; which when Maximinus saw, he was not a little glad the wars were so soon ended: But when he came to the Court and missed his daughter, there was posting vp and down in euery place to seek her, but all in vain, for no man could meet with her, for which he made a great lamentation, making a Proclamation throughout the whole Countrey, That whosoeuer could bring her to him, he should not onely haue a Princely reward, but also, if he were a man of


The pleasant History

Noble blood, he should be honoured with the marriage of his fair daughter. This was good news to Crispine, who was not to learn to make profit thereof.

But by that time his Lady was light, Crispianus his eldest brother arriued into England with great honour, as before you haue heard. And before he went to the Court, he thought it good to visit his old Master, who came also in good time to the chris­tening of his brothers child, which when he with wonder beheld, noting what a strange accident there was, that Maximinus daughter

io should be his brothers wife. But after that he had in Princely manner saluted the new deliuered Lady, taking the infant in his arms, he kissed it, saying; Now I will say and swear (said he) that a Shoomakers Son is a Prince born, ioyning in the opinion of Jpkycratis, and henceforth Shoomakers shall neuer let their terme die.

Then turning to his Master and Dame (he said) how much dear Master and Dame, are we bound to your fauours, that haue main­tained our honors with our happinesse; for by that means, I hope we shall make a ioyfull conclusion of our sorrowfull beginning,

20 and I will so work that the Emperour shall confirm what is alreadie begun; I mean, the honour due to these Princely Louers, and, together with our happy fortunes, procure our mothers liberty.

Hereupon within a short time after, he made preparation to the Court, he attired himselfe in Princely manner, and with a most knightly grace he deliuered to Maximinus, the King of Gauls letter, where he certified the Emperor of the honourable deeds performed by Crispianus, whereupon he receiued him to great fauour, and said vnto him, Right renowned Knight, for the great honour thou hast done me in France, I will honour thee with anything which

~o thou shalt command that standeth with the Maiesty and credit of an Emperor to giue.

Then I beseech your Highnesse (quoth he) to grant me the life, and liberty of my dear Mother, that late Queen of Logria.

Art thou her sonne? (said Maximinus) although thy father was my foe, yet I must needs say, he was a couragious and warlike Prince, thy suit is granted, and once I had a daughter was worthy of thy loue, but vnconstant Fortune bath bereft me of that blisse:

but had it pleased the fair Heauens to haue left her me till this day, I would haue made thee more honourable by her match:

40 But seeing that my wishing doth nothing profit thee, take hence the richest Iewell I haue, and be thou next my selfe in authority:

with that he took from his own neck a Collar of most precious Diamonds, and gaue it to Cris~5ianus, saying, be thou as fortunate as Policrates.

of the Gentle Craft.