Henry Chettle
John Day
(William Haughton?)

1 THE BLIND BEGGAR OF BEDNALL–GREEN, or

1 TOM STROUD

[parts 2 and 3, by Day and Haughton, from 1601, are lost]

26 May 1600 (P)

a synoptic, alphabetical character list

ARMORER

The Armorer, with the other workers, comes to collect his debt from Mumford. Mumford gives the Armorer, the Carter and the Vitler 30 pounds to divide among themselves.

BEDFORD

Bedford is the leader of the English troops in France. He is convinced by the trickery of Sir Robert Westford and Young Plainsey that Muford is a traitor and banishes him.

BESS MUMFORD

Bess is the daughter of Mumford. She is engaged to Young Plainsey, but he repudiates her after her father's disgrace. When she gives a poor solider (her disguised father) a diamond, her guardian, Sir Robert Westford, is enraged and turns her out. She meets her father disguised as a beggar and decides that she will call him father because he resembles Mumford. Together they nobly nurse Sir Robert back to health after his fight with Old Strowd, and convince him to appear and save Strowd from the gallows by revealing he is alive. When Young Plainsey sees Bess, he does not recognize her, but, impressed by her beauty, courts her, first to be his mistress and then his wife. Bess rejects him completely. When Young Plainsey appears at their cottage and demands she give in to him, she declares she has vowed to die a virgin, whereupon he threatens to kill her father, and then rape and mutilate her. The disguised Mumford at first agrees she must give in, but then, in yet another disguise, fights off Young Plainsey. Young Plainsey hires Tom Strowd to capture Bess and take her to his house, but Tom, having fallen in love with her, instead takes her to safety. In the final scene, Tom declares his intention to marry Bess, despite the fact that she is a beggar's daughter. Mumford reveals himself and gives Bess to Tom. Although she does not indicate her feelings, it may be assumed she is happy with the match.

BEWFORD

The Cardinal's former name was Lord Bewford.

BLIND BEGGAR of BEDNALL–GREEN

The Blind Beggar is the main disguise of three that Mumford takes on during the play.

BROTHER

Brother of the Blind Beggar of Bednall-Green. Another of the disguises that Mumford assumes. When Young Plainsey threatens Bess, Mumford (in his disguise as an old blind beggar) agrees to hand her over, and disappears into the cottage. A moment later the Beggar's Brother, a former servant to Mumford, appears and beats Young Plainsey. He then tells Bess to tend to her the old beggar, and when she finds no trace of him, reveals himself to her. Later, in the same disguise, Mumford fights with and beats Canbee and Hadland.

CANBEE, FRANK

Canbee is a cheat in the service of the Cardinal. With Hadland and Snip, he steals Tom Strowd's cloak, but is forgiven. In disguise as a highwayman, he steals money from Tom and Swash, and then pretends to happen upon him and help him. Later, he meets Tom, again in disguise, but this time Tom recognizes him and beats him and Hadland while Swash handles Snip. They take back part of the stolen money, and Canbee suggests they can get the rest back by joining them and helping Young Plainsey. When Canbee and Hadland fight the disguised Mumford, they are soundly beaten. When the two sides fight in the final scene, Tom passes up any weapon but a cudgel and uses it to soundly beat the two again.

CAPTAIN WESTFORD

Captain Westford is the cousin of Robert Westford, but unlike his cousin he is an honorable man. He does not believe Mumford is guilty of treason, and gives him 100 pounds after Mumford is denied the 1000 marks he is owed. He chides his brother for offering his daughter to the already engaged Young Plainsey and for turning Bess out of his house. When he comes upon the fight between Sir Robert, Young Plainsey and their men against the disguised Mumford, he is convinced by the latter's claims of treachery and joins him. In the final scene, he stands with Mumford, and is rewarded for his loyalty by King Henry VI, who makes him general of all the forces in France.

CARDINAL

The Cardinal, formerly Lord Bewford, is in love with the Lady Ellenor. He visits her, disguised as his own servant, but she recognizes him and, by convincing him she will meet him in the garden, gets him to leave. He is later reported to be attempting to marry Ellenor by force, but in the last scene he comes to an uneasy peace with is rival Gloucester, as demanded by the King.

CARTER

The Carter, with the other workers, comes to collect his debt from Mumford. Mumford gives the Armorer, the Carter and the Vitler 30 pounds to divide among themselves.

ELLENOR

The Lady Ellenor is sought after by two men, the Duke of Gloucester and the Cardinal. Both men visit her, disguised as their own servants. She sees through both disguises and convinces the Cardinal to leave her with the disguised Gloucester, whom she then agrees to marry. Although she appears in two more scenes, including the finale, she is silent.

FATHER, SIMSONSí

A "ghost character." Simsonsí Father is described by Tom as a dandy.

GLASSCOCK

A "ghost character." After Strowd thinks he has killed Sir Robert, he sends Swash to Glasscock with his seal-ring, to ask for 100 pounds that Glasscock owes him. Since Tom is later robbed of 100 pounds, it may be assumed that Glasscock paid the money.

GLOUCESTER, DUKE OF

The Duke of Gloucester, also called Protector in the list of characters, is in love with the Lady Ellenor. He visits her, disguised as his own servant, but she recognizes him and, after getting rid of the similarly disguised Cardinal, she agrees to marry him. Gloucester presides over the trial of Old Stoward, who is accused of killing Sir Robert. When Robert appears, Gloucester is grateful to free Stoward. He is then brought news that the Cardinal is attempting to marry Ellenor by force, and rushes off. In the final scene he comes to an uneasy peace with the Cardinal, as demanded by the King. He then provides advice to the King on how to deal with the two parties of Sir Robert and Mumford, suggesting allowing the fight, and afterwards advising banishment for the traitors.

HADLAND, JACK

Hadland is a cheat in the service of the Cardinal. With Canbee and Snip, he steals Tom Strowd's cloak, but is forgiven. In disguise as a highwayman, he helps Canbee steal money from Tom and Swash, and then pretends to happen upon him and help him. Later, he meets Tom, again in disguise, but this time Tom recognizes him and beats him and Canbee while Swash handles Snip. When Canbee and Hadland fight the disguised Mumford, they are soundly beaten. When the two sides fight in the final scene, Tom passes up any weapon but a cudgel and uses it to soundly beat the two again.

HAUCE BEAUMART

A "ghost character." Hauce Beaumart is a captain who consented to help the French win Guynes, part of the plot that caused Mumford's banishment.

HENRY IV

King Henry appears in the last scene only, attempting to reconcile the Cardinal and Gloucester. When the two parties appear before him, the King shows his youth by appealing to Gloucester, the Protector, for advice. He agrees that the two sides will fight, but objects to rapiers, the first choice of weapons, as too deadly. After the battle is over, he again turns to Gloucester for advice on how to deal with the traitors, but himself rewards those who fought beside Mumford.

KATE WESTFORD

Kate is the daughter of Sir Robert and cousin to Bess Mumford. When her father offers her in marriage to Young Plainsey, she objects because he has been engaged to Bess. She declares she would prefer to die rather than marry Young Plainsey, but is forced off stage to him and, since Young Plainsey later talks of his wife, presumably she does marry him. She does not reappear, but several times when wooing the disguised Bess, Young Plainsey talks about his wife's ill health and imminent death, and finally Old Plainsey speaks of her recent death.

KEEPER'S DAUGHTER

A "ghost character." She helped Young Plainsey when he was a prisoner in Amiens.

LANCELOT ICK DOENIIT

A "ghost character." A Scrivener. He is the secretary to Veleires in Amiens. Young Plainsey disguises himself as the Scrivener and gives a forged letter to the Switzer, so that Mumford will be accused of treason.

LUCE the LAUNDRESS

Luce appears immediately after Mumford is accused of treason, urging the other workers to be bold and ask Mumford to settle their debts. She is sorry for his troubles, but asks for her bill to be settled. Mumford gives her ten pounds (slightly more than is owed) and she praises him as noble man.

MESSENGER

A Messenger arrives just after the trial of Strowd is disbanded, to tell Gloucester that the Cardinal is attempting to steal the Lady Ellanor by force from her castle.

MUMFORD

Mumford is a loyal follower of the king, but he is banished through the treachery of Sir Robert Westford and Young Plainsey. Despite the banishment, he returns to England, first in disguise as a poor soldier. In this disguise he sees Young Plainsey break his engagement to Mumford's daughter Bess, and Sir Robert turn Bess out of his house. Mumford then takes on the guise of an old blind beggar, and in this disguise meets his daughter, who decides to stay with him and call him father because he resembles her father. Together, they find Sir Robert, on the point of death, after his fight with Strowd. Despite his treachery, they nurse him back to health, and, still disguised, Mumford hears Sir Robert's confession of his treachery, and urges him to correct his wrongs. Sir Robert does go with Mumford and Bess to stop the trial of Strowd, but then regrets confessing to the beggar. When Young Plainsey woos Bess to be his concubine, Mumford, disguised as the blind beggar, pretends that they have no choice but to give in to his demands, but then reappears as the beggar's brother, a servingman of Mumford's, and beats Young Plainsey. He then instructs Bess to see to the beggar, and when she cannot find him, she accuses him of being a conjurer. He then reveals himself to his daughter. When Young Plainsey sets Canbee and Hadland to attack him, he beats them both, and cuts Canbee on the thigh. He appears before the King with Captain Westford and the Strowds, and his side wins the fight. When Tom Strowd declares he wishes to marry Bess, despite being a beggar's daughter, he reveals himself to all. His banishment is revoked and he is made Lord High Treasurer by the King.

OLD PLAINSEY

Sir Walter Plainsey is regularly referred to as Old Plainsey to distinguish him from his son. Lady Ellanor is his ward, and at first he declares he loves her, but it is quickly revealed that he loves her lands more than her, and no more is made of this point. At the trial of Strowd, he declares that not only has Strowd confessed to the murder of Sir Robert, but that Sir Robert's daughter begged for his execution, an unlikely claim since Kate has just been forced into marriage to Old Plainsey's son. However, once the truth is revealed he tries to make peace, and when he finds his son and Sir Robert attempting to kill the disguised Mumford, he takes the side of the servingman and is convinced that Sir Robert and his son plotted against Mumford. He appears before the King and asks that the two sides be allowed to prove their cause through battle. He also declares himself innocent of his son's treachery.

OLD SOLDIER

The first disguise that Mumford takes on. While so disguised he is given a diamond by Bess and sees Sir Robert offer his daughter to Young Plainsey, despite the latter's engagement to Bess.

ROBERT WESTFORD

Sir Robert is the brother in law of Mumford and ward of his niece, but plots against him. He is thrilled to learn that Young Plainsey has arranged to have Mumford accused of treason, and banished. He quickly offers his daughter, Kate, to Young Plainsey as wife. When Old Strowd witnesses Sir Robert turning Bess Mumford out of his house, he insults Sir Robert and the two agree to duel. During the duel, Sir Robert is badly wounded and Strowd flees, believing him dead. Sir Robert is found by the disguised Mumford and Bess, who decide to nurse him back to health, despite his treachery. Sir Robert confesses his wrongs and promises to repent, but once he is healthy, he regrets what he has done. He does appear at Strowd's trial so Strowd will not be executed for his death, but afterwards, tells Young Plainsey that they must kill the beggar before he reveals what Sir Robert has told him. Together with their followers, they attempt to kill the disguised Mumford and take Bess by force, but are unsuccessful. Instead, both groups appear before the King and fight to prove their cause. Sir Robert's side loses and Mumford reveals himself. With the others, Sir Robert is banished.

ROBERT WESTFORD'S WIFE

A "ghost character." Sir Robert mentions his wife as sister to Mumford. Since she is mentioned in the past tense it is to be presumed that she is dead.

SERVANT

The Servant of Old Plainsey enters to announce that messengers have come from the Cardinal and Gloucester. These are, in fact, the Cardinal and Gloucester themselves, in disguise.

SIMSONS

A "ghost character." When Old Strowd complains that young men spend too much money on gaudy clothes, Tom, who has just had his gaudy cloak stolen, describes how Simsons (or perhaps Simson's son) wears his jerkin swash fashion, with eight or ten gold laces a side. The reference is vague. The phrase reads, "old Simsons son of Showdon Thorp" and could mean "Old Simson's son" or "Old Simsons, son of Showdon Thorp."

SOLDIER

The Soldier enters with Luce and the other workers, just after Mumford is accused of treason but does not directly ask Mumford for money. Mumford gives him a gold chain of his own accord, and the Soldier says he will pray for Mumford.

SNIP

Snip is Canbee and Hadland's boy. He helps them rob Tom Strowd and runs away with his sword. Then, dressed as a girl, attempts to con Tom and Swash again. They see through his disguise and terrify him. He does not appear in any of the later scenes where actual fighting takes place.

STROWD

Strowd, or Old Strowd, is a Norfolk gentleman who holds lands from Mumford, which Sir Robert covets. When Strowd appears at Sir Robert's, he sees Bess thrown out of her uncle's house and is appalled at Sir Robert's behavior. He gives the disguised Mumford money and challenges Sir Robert to a duel. When they fight, he wounds Sir Robert badly, and flees, believing he has killed him. He sends for his son, Tom, with 100 pounds to help him escape, but when Tom is robbed, he declares he will never speak to him again until he has recovered the money. They reconcile when Sir Robert is revealed to be alive. Strowd joins with the disguised Mumford when he and Captain Westford find Mumford fighting against Canbee and Hadland. Strowd appears before the King on Mumford's side for the final fight. Afterwards, when Tom declares his intent to marry Bess, Strowd objects because she is a beggar. But after the supposed beggar produces more money than he can, he allows the marriage.

SWASH

Swash is the servant of Strowd and Tom Strowd, and serves as the main comic relief. He always has an eye out for pretty women and is even briefly fooled by Snip in a dress. He fights beside Tom when they are robbed by Canbee and Hadland, and helps Tom persuade Bess to trust them and put herself under their protection. In the final scene, he enters with a cudgel for Tom to use against Canbee and Hadland.

SWITZER

The Switzer is one of the prisoners, along with Young Plainsey, who is released from Amiens. He bears a letter that proves Mumford is a traitor, although he appears unaware that the letter is a forgery. He is rewarded with a position with the English troops.

TOM STROWD

Tom Strowd is the son of Old Strowd, and, with Swash, provides the comic relief. He is first presented as a bit of a dandy; he is devastated when Canbee and Hadland steal his beautiful cloak, but tries to hide how expensive it was from his father. He is easily robbed by the disguised Canbee, losing the 100 pounds that would have helped his father. However, he matures after he falls in love with Bess. He pretends to join with Young Plainsey against Mumford so he can regain the money stolen from him, but in actuality rescues Bess from them. He fights on Mumford's side in the final battle and refuses to use any weapon against Canbee and Hadland but a cudgel, with which he soundly beats them. After the battle, he proposes to Bess, despite his father's objections that she is a beggar's daughter, and Mumford is pleased that he is willing to love her despite her apparent lack of wealth.

VAN HERE VELEIRES

A "ghost character." He is the governor of Amiens. Young Plainsey pretends that he has a letter Veleires wrote, promising a large reward to Mumford if he will surrender to the French, thus proving Mumford guilty of treason. In fact, the letter was created by the disguised Young Plainsey.

VITLER

The Vitler, with the other workers, comes to collect his debt from Mumford. Mumford gives the Armorer, the Carter and the Vitler 30 pounds to divide among themselves.

WIFE of the EARL of FLANDER

A "ghost character." The Cardinal accuses Gloucester of having abused the Earl of Flander's wife with "lascivious lust."

YOUNG PLAINSEY

Young Plainsey is the chief plotter against Mumford. He deliberately allows himself to be captured by the French so he can forge documents that implicate Mumford in treason. Once he is released, he makes sure the letter is found and results in Mumford's banishment, while he pretends to be grief stricken. Back in England, he repudiates his engagement to Bess Mumford and instead marries the resistant Kate Westford. When he sees Bess at Strowd's trial, he does not recognize her, but is swept away by her beauty and wants her for his concubine. When she refuses, he offers to marry her after his wife is dead and Old Plainsey does reveal later that Kate has died. When Bess still refuses, Young Plainsey threatens to kill her beggar father and rape and mutilate her. The disguised Mumford pretends that they must give in to Young Plainsey and leaves Bess with him, but then reappears disguised as his own brother and beats Young Plainsey. Young Plainsey hires Tom Strowd, Canbee and Hadland, along with Sir Robert to help kill the disguised Mumford and kidnap Bess. However, Tom actually protects Bess, and Mumford stands against Canbee and Hadland. When Old Plainsey and Captain Westford discover the battle, they are convinced by Mumford and join his side. Young Plainsey fights with Sir Robert in the final battle and loses. With the others, he is banished.

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