Nathan Field

AMENDS FOR LADIES

circa 1610–1611

a synoptic, alphabetical character list

BOLD

Bold is in love with the widowed Lady Bright, who has forbidden him to come within her sight. He disguises himself as an elderly waiting-gentlewoman, Mary Princox, and arranges to have himself introduced to Lady Bright by his rival, Lord Feesimple, as a servant. Bold claims to have been in the service of Bold's sister and to have been dismissed when "she" rejected Bold's attentions. Bold attends Lady Bright, and is invited to share her bed. He removes his disguise and attempts to seduce her; she draws a sword on him. He claims that, having shared a bed, they must now marry; she claims not to care about public opinion. She swears that she loves him, but she will not marry him, and turns him out of the house naked. Bold is discovered by Subtle, who is rehearsing love songs with his Boy. Bold claims to have lost all his clothes playing dice, but Subtle is convinced that he has been in the bed of Lady Perfect. Bold goes to the house of his friend Welltried in order to clothe himself. Welltried scorns Bold's failure to win Lady Bright's acceptance, but agrees to help him in a new plan and is sent to invite Lady Bright to Bold's wedding. When Feesimple wakes up from his drunken stupor, Bold tells him that he has killed three men and that Welltried has fled; Feesimple is ready to believe him, but is then told that he has really killed nobody. Bold then tells Feesimple that he is required to meet Lady Bright at the church, in disguise. At the wedding, Welltried and Bold introduce Lady Bright to a masked woman who is supposedly Bold's fiancée. 'She' is really Lord Feesimple, who thinks that he has been brought there in disguise to marry Lady Bright. Lady Bright swears that she will not oppose Bold's marriage, saying that her lands and goods will be forfeit if she does. Bold then asks the Parson to marry them, saying that if she declines her lands and goods are forfeit to him. At this, Lady Bright capitulates– "since there's no remedy. | Your widow (without goods) sells scurvily"–and agrees to marry Bold.

BOTS

Bots is a roaring boy. He is found in a tavern on Turnbull Street, in the company of Tearchaps, Whorebang, and Spillblood. Welltried brings Lord Feesimple to them in an attempt to cure his fear of swords. A fight breaks out, and Whorebang, Tearchaps, Bots and Spillblood flee the scene.

BOY

The Boy is in the service of Subtle and sings his love song, intended for Lady Perfect.

COUNT

The Count is the decrepit elderly father of Lord Feesimple. He plots to marry Lady Honour and Feesimple fears that he will be disinherited. At the wedding the Count appears, coughing, wrapped in furs and virtually comatose. The Count's bride is cozened from him, and he also fails to interject quickly enough to marry Lady Bright. He is advised to woo Bold's masked fiancée, but finds, on kissing her, that she has a beard, and is really his son.

DONNER

Donner is a sergeant. He and Pitts arrest Lord Proudly at the request of Seldom to whom Lord Proudly is indebted.

DRAWER

The Drawer works in a tavern in Turnbull Street, and tries to moderate the behaviour of the delinquent "roarers" Bots, Spillblood, Tearchaps and Whorebang. After the fight and the flight of the roaring boys, he thanks Welltried and Lord Feesimple for ridding the house of them.

FRANK

Frank is the younger brother of Ingen. He poses as his brother's wife after Ingen is rejected by Lady Honour. On the way to the duel with Lord Proudly, Ingen leaves his money and land to Frank, and asks him to take care of the footboy (Lady Honour in disguise). Frank attends to the injured Lady Honour while Ingen fights Lord Proudly. At the wedding of Lady Honour and the Count, Frank delivers a message from Ingen, who vows that he will never again trust a woman, and a letter to Lady Honour. As the Parson marries Ingen and Lady Honour, Frank draws his sword and prevents anyone from interrupting the ceremony and the consummation of the marriage.

GRACE SELDOM

Grace Seldom is the wife of Seldom, a citizen, and assists him in his shop. She is sent a propositioning letter by the Husband via Moll Cutpurse, which she rejects. She also rejects the advances of Lord Proudly, who tries to woo her in her husband's shop. Seldom is confident in his wife's chastity, and hopes to gain by her conversation with men such as Lord Proudly. Seldom and Grace attend the eventual marriages of Lady Honour to Ingen and Lady Bright to Bold.

HUSBAND

The Husband is married to Lady Perfect and is an old friend and schoolfellow of Subtle. The Husband is paranoid about his wife's chastity, and persuades the all-too-willing Subtle to test her. He violently accuses Lady Perfect of having entertained Subtle's advances, which she denies, and he switches to apparent friendliness when Subtle enters. The Husband leaves, ostensibly to go into the country. Lady Perfect is confused by his behavior, but defends him to Subtle. Later, the Husband tells Subtle to redouble his efforts to seduce Lady Perfect; he cannot believe that a woman could remain chaste in the face of temptation. Subtle tells the Husband that he must weaken Lady Perfect by mistreating her, which the Husband claims to have done. He gives Subtle a jewel to present to her together with a sonnet "writ against myself." Subtle tells the Husband that he has overcome Lady Perfect, describing his tactics and stratagems in detail. He goes to fetch Lady Perfect, promising to make the Husband an "ear-witness" to her infidelity. She again denies that she has been false, whereupon Subtle accuses her of having been intimate with Bold the previous night. She again rebuts him, telling him that Bold was pursuing Lady Bright. Subtle realizes that he was mistaken, and promises to help to reconcile her with her husband. The Husband, having heard everything, reveals himself and begs her forgiveness. She accepts, and they depart for the weddings of Lady Honour and the Count, and Bold to "another gentlewoman."

INGEN

Ingen has been in love with Lady Honour since they were both children, but she delights in appearing to be distant towards him and swears that she will never marry. When Ingen suggests that they might instead "couple unlawfully," Lady Honour, outraged, vows that she will never see him again; he departs sorrowfully. He is next seen at his house, reading a letter that the Servant has brought him. He orders the servant to send in the Irish footboy who delivered the letter, who is really Lady Honour in disguise. Ingen pretends that he has married, showing his "wife"–really his brother Frank in disguise–to the disguised Lady Honour. Lady Honour asks to stay in his service, saying that she cannot bear to deliver the news of his marriage to her mistress. Perturbed by Lady Honour's disappearance, Lord Proudly goes to Ingen's house demanding to see his sister. Ingen denies that she is there, and Lady Honour (still disguised as a footboy) offers to go in search of her. Ingen despairs for Lady Honour, and reveals that his "wife" is really Frank in disguise. Lord Proudly continues to berate Ingen, and they agree to duel. On the way to the duel the next day, Ingen bequeaths his money and land to Frank, and asks him to take care of the footboy. They meet Lady Honour (still in disguise), who tells them that Lord Proudly has been arrested. At that moment, however, Lord Proudly enters, having shaken off his guard, and stabs Lady Honour. Ingen stabs Lord Proudly in the left arm, and they duel while Frank attends to Lady Honour off-stage. She enters and throws herself between them, revealing her true identity. Lord Proudly demands that Lady Honour go with him to marry the Count. She refuses; Ingen and Lord Proudly fight again. In order to stop them fighting, Lady Honour agrees to marry whoever Lord Proudly wishes. At the wedding, Frank delivers a message from Ingen, who vows that he will never again trust a woman, and a letter to Lady Honour. Lady Honour reads the letter and swoons, then leaves, demanding to be taken to her bed: "My body dies for my soul's perjured sin." Ingen enters, posing as her doctor and asks everyone to leave except the Parson. The other guests look in the windows and see the Parson marrying Ingen and Lady Honour; Frank draws his sword and prevents anyone from interrupting. Having consummated their marriage, Ingen and Lady Honour present a fait accompli to the Count and Lord Proudly, who are forced to accept the state of affairs.

LADY BRIGHT

Lady Bright is also called 'Widow' in speech prefixes. She and Lady Honour and Lady Perfect dispute whether it is better to be a maid, a wife or a widow. Having listened to the conversation between Lady Honour and Ingen, Lady Perfect and Lady Bright mock Lady Honour's previous praise of her suitor. Lady Bright is the subject of attention from Lord Feesimple and Bold; she has forbidden Bold to come within her sight. Bold disguises himself as an elderly waiting-gentlewoman, Mary Princox, and arranges to have himself introduced to Lady Bright as a former servant of Bold's sister. Bold attends Lady Bright, and is invited to share her bed. He removes his disguise and attempts to seduce her; she draws a sword on him. He claims that having shared a bed they must now marry; she declares that she does not care about public opinion. She claims to love him, but will not marry him, and turns him out of the house naked. Bold sends his friend Welltried to tell Lady Bright that he is going to marry another woman. At the wedding, Welltried and Bold introduce Lady Bright to a masked woman who is supposedly Bold's fiancée. "She" is really the disguised Lord Feesimple, who thinks that he has been brought there to marry Lady Bright. Lady Bright swears that she will not oppose Bold's marriage, saying that her lands and goods will be forfeit if she does. Bold then asks the Parson to marry them, saying that if she declines, her lands and goods are forfeit to him. At this, Lady Bright capitulates–'since there's no remedy. | Your widow (without goods) sells scurvily"–and agrees to marry Bold.

LADY HONOUR

Lady Honour is also called 'Maid' in speech prefixes. She is the unmarried sister of Lord Proudly. Lady Honour, Lady Bright and Lady Perfect dispute whether it is better to be a maid, a wife or a widow. Lady Honour is loved by Ingen but delights in appearing to be haughty and distant towards him, and swears that she will never marry. Ingen suggests that they might instead 'couple unlawfully', and Lady Honour, outraged, vows that she will never see him again. Lady Perfect and Lady Bright eavesdrop on their conversation and mock Lady Honour's previous praise of Ingen. Lady Honour disguises herself as an Irish footboy, delivers a letter to Ingen and returns the gloves that he sent her. Ingen pretends that he has married, showing his 'wife'–really his brother Frank in disguise–to the disguised Lady Honour. Lady Honour asks to stay in his service, saying that she cannot bear to deliver the news of his marriage to her 'mistress'. In the next scene, Lord Proudly, Lord Feesimple, Welltried, Seldom, Lady Bright, Bold–disguised as Mary Princox–and Lady Perfect discuss Lady Honour's disappearance and the absence of the Husband. They decide to ask Ingen for news of her, and Lord Proudly goes his house, demanding to see his sister. Ingen denies that she is there, and Lady Honour (still disguised as a footboy) offers to go in search of her. Ingen despairs for Lady Honour, and reveals that his 'wife' is really his younger brother Frank in disguise. Lord Proudly continues to berate Ingen, and they agree to duel. Afraid of losing either her brother or her love, Lady Honour goes to Seldom and asks him to arrest Lord Proudly on a debt. With Sergeant Pitts and Sergeant Donner, they encounter Lord Proudly and take him away. Lady Honour meets Ingen and Frank, and tells them that Lord Proudly has been arrested. At that moment, however, Lord Proudly enters, having shaken off his guard, and stabs Lady Honour. Ingen stabs Lord Proudly in the left arm, and they duel while Frank attends to Lady Honour off-stage. Returning, Lady Honour herself between the adversaries, revealing her true identity. Lord Proudly demands that Lady Honour go with him to marry the Count. She refuses; Ingen and Lord Proudly fight again. In order to stop them fighting, Lady Honour agrees to marry whoever Lord Proudly wishes and exits with her brother. At the wedding of Lady Honour and the Count, Frank delivers a message from Ingen, who vows that he will never again trust a woman, and a letter to Lady Honour. Lady Honour reads the letter and swoons, then demands to be taken to her bed: 'My body dies for my soul's perjured sin'. Ingen enters, posing as her doctor and asks everyone to leave except the Parson. The other guests look in the windows and see the Parson marrying Ingen and Lady Honour; Frank draws his sword and prevents anyone from interrupting. Having consummated their marriage, Ingen and Lady Honour present a fait accompli to the Count and Lord Proudly, who are forced to accept the state of affairs.

LADY PERFECT

Lady Perfect is also called "Wife" in speech prefixes. Lady Perfect is the Sister of Lord Proudly and is married to the Husband. She and Lady Honour and Lady Bright dispute whether it is better to be a maid, a wife or a widow. Having listened to the conversation between Lady Honour and Ingen, Lady Perfect and Lady Bright mock Lady Honour's previous praise of her suitor. The Husband tries to use his friend Subtle to test Lady Perfect's chastity. He violently accuses her of having entertained Subtle's advances, which she denies, and he switches to apparent friendliness on the appearance of Subtle. Lady Perfect is confused by her husband's behaviour, but defends him to Subtle. Subtle tells her about the Husband's plan and tries to seduce her, but Lady Perfect vows to maintain her marriage vows. In order to try to break her resistance, the Husband mistreats Lady Perfect, assaulting her physically and giving her clothes away. Subtle tells the Husband that he has overcome Lady Perfect, describing his tactics and stratagems in detail. He goes to fetch Lady Perfect, promising to make the Husband an "ear-witness" to her infidelity. She again denies that she has been false, whereupon Subtle accuses her of having been intimate with Bold the previous night. She again rebuts him, telling him that Bold was pursuing Lady Bright. Subtle realises that he was mistaken, and promises to help to reconcile her with her husband. The Husband, having heard everything, reveals himself and begs her forgiveness. After the weddings of Lady Honour to Ingen and Lady Bright to Bold have been finalised, Lady Perfect concludes the play by claiming that she is now proved to have been right all along: "mine is now approved the happiest life, | Since each of you hath changed to be a wife."

LORD FEESIMPLE

Lord Feesimple is the foolish son of the Count. He is in love with Lady Bright, and is worried that he father is plotting to make a new marriage to Lady Honour and disinherit him. Feesimple's rival, Bold , takes advantage of his lack of intelligence: Bold poses as an elderly waiting-gentlewoman and has Feesimple recommend "her" to Lady Bright. Feesimple insults Bold to the latter's friend, Welltried, and when challenged by Welltried he swoons; Feesimple claims that he has had an aversion to swords ever since he was cut in the hand by a chopping knife as a child. Welltried takes Feesimple to meet the "roarers" Whorebang, Tearchaps, Bots and Spillblood, in an attempt to cure his fear of steel. A fight breaks out between them all, and Whorebang, Tearchaps, Bots and Spillblood flee. Welltried and Feesimple continue drinking, and Welltried eventually has to take a comatose Feesimple back to his own lodgings. When Feesimple wakes up, Bold tells him that he has killed three men and that Welltried has fled. Feesimple is ready to believe him, but is then told that he really killed noone. Bold then tells Feesimple that he is required to meet Lady Bright at the church, disguised as Bold's fiancée. He impatiently waits for his moment. When the weddings between Lady Honour and Ingen and Lady Bright and Bold have been concluded, the Count is advised to woo Bold's masked fiancée, but finds, on kissing her, that she has a beard, and is really his son. Feesimple is angry to have been cozened, but is placated by the promise of the wedding feasts.

LORD PROUDLY

Lord Proudly is the brother of Lady Honour. He smokes tobacco in the shop of Seldom, and makes advances to Seldom's wife Grace, which she rejects. On Lady Honour's disappearance, Lord Proudly goes to the house of Ingen, demanding to see his sister. Ingen denies that she is there, and they eventually agree to duel. Afraid of losing either her brother or her love, Lady Honour goes to Seldom and asks him to arrest Lord Proudly on a debt. Seldom agrees to help her, more worried about the duel than solely about his money. With the Sergeants, Pitts and Donner, they encounter Lord Proudly and take him away. Lady Honour meets Ingen and Frank, and tells them that Lord Proudly has been arrested. At that moment, however, Lord Proudly enters, having shaken off his guard, and stabs Lady Honour. Ingen stabs Lord Proudly in the left arm, and they duel while Frank attends to Lady Honour off-stage. She re-enters and throws herself between them, revealing her true identity. Lord Proudly demands that Lady Honour go with him to marry the Count. She refuses; Ingen and Lord Proudly fight again. In order to stop them fighting, Lady Honour agrees to marry whoever Lord Proudly wishes, and exits with her brother. When Ingen and Lady Honour deceive them and marry, Lord Proudly threatens them both and the Parson who carried out the ceremony, but eventually has to capitulate and accept the marriage.

MAID

Lady Honour is also called 'Maid' in speech heads.

MARY PRINCOX

Mary Princox is the name used by Bold in his disguise as an elderly waiting-gentlewoman.

MOLL CUTPURSE

Moll Cutpurse is a procuress. Under the cover of collecting a pair of hangers from Seldom's shop, Moll attempts to deliver a letter from the Husband to Grace Seldom. Grace rebuffs her advances and she departs.

PARSON

The Parson marries Ingen to Lady Honour, and at the close of the play is to marry Bold to Lady Bright.

PITTS

Pitts is a sergeant. He and Donner arrest Lord Proudly at the request of Seldom to whom Lord Proudly is indebted.

SERVANT

The Servant reports to Ingen that the letter was delivered by an Irish footboy (really Lady Honour in disguise) and sends him in.

SELDOM

Seldom is a citizen and the husband of Grace Seldom. He is also the landlord of Lady Honour. He delivers gloves to Lady Honour, Lady Perfect and Lady Bright from Ingen. Seldom is confident in his wife's chastity, and hopes to gain by her conversation with men such as Lord Proudly. Lady Honour goes to Seldom and asks him to arrest Lord Proudly on a debt. Seldom agrees to help her, more worried about the duel than solely about his money. With the Sergeants, Pitts and Donner they encounter Lord Proudly and take him away. Seldom and Grace attend the eventual marriages of Lady Honour to Ingen and Lady Bright to Bold.

SIR JOHN LOVEALL

Sir John Loveall is a "ghost character." He sends a love-letter to Grace Seldom via Moll Cutpurse.

SPILLBLOOD

Spillblood is a roaring boy. He is found in a tavern on Turnbull Street in the company of Whorebang, Bots, and Tearchaps. Welltried brings Lord Feesimple to them in an attempt to cure his fear of swords. A fight breaks out, and Whorebang, Tearchaps, Bots and Spillblood flee the scene.

SUBTLE

Subtle is an old friend and school-fellow of the Husband. Subtle has been absent from the London and on his return is introduced to the Husband's new wife, Lady Perfect. The Husband is paranoid about his wife's chastity, and persuades the all-too-willing Subtle to test her. The Husband violently accuses Lady Perfect of having entertained Subtle's advances, which she denies, and he switches to apparent friendliness when Subtle enters. The Husband leaves, ostensibly to go into the country. Lady Perfect is confused by his behavior, but defends him to Subtle. Subtle tells her about the Husband's plan and tries to seduce her, but Lady Perfect vows to maintain her marriage vows. Later, the Husband tells Subtle to redouble his efforts to seduce Lady Perfect; he cannot believe that a woman could remain chaste in the face of temptation. Subtle tells the Husband that he must weaken Lady Perfect by mistreating her, which the Husband claims to have done. He gives Subtle a jewel to present to her together with a sonnet "writ against myself." Subtle scorns the Husband's efforts to make himself a cuckold. Walking the streets and practicing love-songs with his Boy, Subtle comes across the naked Bold, who has just been ejected from the house of Lady Bright. Bold claims to have lost all his clothes playing dice, but Subtle is convinced that he has been in the bed of Lady Perfect. Subtle tells the Husband that he has overcome Lady Perfect, describing his tactics and stratagems in detail. He goes to fetch Lady Perfect, promising to make the Husband an "ear-witness" to her infidelity. She again denies that she has been false, whereupon Subtle accuses her of having been intimate with Bold the previous night. She again rebuts him, telling him that Bold was pursuing Lady Bright. Subtle realizes that he was mistaken, and promises to help to reconcile her with her husband. The Husband, having heard everything, reveals himself and begs her forgiveness. She accepts, and they depart for the eventual weddings of Lady Honour to Ingen, and Bold to Lady Bright.

TEARCHAPS

Tearchaps is a roaring boy. He is found in a tavern on Turnbull Street, in the company of Whorebang, Bots and Spillblood. Welltried brings Lord Feesimple to them in an attempt to cure his fear of swords. A fight breaks out, and Whorebang, Tearchaps, Bots and Spillblood flee the scene.

WELLTRIED

Welltried is a friend of Bold, who repeatedly defends his reputation in his absence. He challenges Lord Feesimple when he insults Bold, and reports that Bold was successful in a duel. Welltried takes Feesimple to meet the "roarers" Whorebang, Tearchaps, Bots and Spillblood, in an attempt to cure his fear of steel. A fight breaks out between them all, and Whorebang, Tearchaps, Bots and Spillblood flee. Welltried and Feesimple continue drinking, and Welltried eventually has to take a comatose Feesimple back to his own lodgings. Welltried scorns Bold's failure to win Lady Bright's acceptance, but agrees to help him in a new plan and goes to tell Lady Bright that Bold is to be married, inviting her to the wedding. At the wedding, Welltried and Bold introduce Lady Bright to a masked woman who is supposedly Bold's fiancée (she is really Lord Feesimple in disguise, who thinks that he has been brought there to marry Lady Bright).

WHOREBANG

Whorebang is a roaring boy. He is found in a tavern on Turnbull Street, in the company of Tearchaps, Bots, and Spillblood. Welltried brings Lord Feesimple to them in an attempt to cure his fear of swords. A fight breaks out, and Whorebang, Tearchaps, Bots and Spillblood flee the scene.

WIDOW

Lady Bright is also called 'Widow' in speech heads.

WIFE

Lady Perfect is also called 'Wife' in speech heads.