A WARNING FOR FAIR WOMEN
Anne Sanders is the loving and devoted wife of George Sanders who is lured into adultery with George Browne by wily Anne Drewry, her seeming friend and confidant. Apparently consenting to the murder of her husband by Browne, she is immediately distraught upon seeing the bloody handkerchief sent as a sign of his death. She wants to kill herself and refuses to see Browne, but she contributes plate and cash to assist in his escape. Brought before the Lords after Browne is sentenced to death, she pleads not guilty and lies about her knowledge of the murder. Sentenced to death as an accessory, she begs Drewry to clear her, but Drewry refuses, leading her to make a complete confession to the Doctor. In her final scene she says farewell to her children, praising their late father and asking mercy of him, God, and her children. She beseeches her children to be virtuous, and she gives them each a kiss and a book of meditations to help them receive God's blessing.
Master Barnes is a business associate of George Sanders and the employer of John Bean, his man. Barnes sends a reluctant Bean to Greenwich to ask Sanders to visit him in Woolwich on a business matter. The urgency upon which Barnes' insists brings Sanders and Bean in darkness by the wood Bean fears, thus providing George Browne an opportunity to slay them. Barnes takes in the dying Bean, sheltering him until Browne is captured and brought to Barnes' home where Bean identifies him as the murderer.
John Beane, a yeoman, is servant or "man" to Master Barnes. Fearful of the dangers of going by land route to London, Bean nevertheless obeys Barnes' directive walk to George Sanders' residence to ask Sanders to visit Barnes. In route Bean meets his friend, Old John, and his sweetheart, Joan, Old John's maid. Since George Sanders is at court when Bean arrives, Anne Sanders invites Bean to stay until her husband returns. When Sanders comes home, Bean insists that he and Sanders start immediately for Barnes' house but then wants to turn back when the two arrive after dark at the forbidding wood. Sanders makes them continue through the wood, where George Browne, ambushes them, killing Sanders and leaving Beam seemingly lifeless. Somehow Bean Bean survives and crawls, barely conscious, to the path where Old John and Joan discover him and carry him home. Unconscious for two days, he comes to life long enough to identify Browne as the murderer; then he dies. Because of the class consciousness and hortatory intent of this morality tale, neither judges nor populace nor even Barnes seemed much concerned that Bean and been slain or courageously held on to life. Judges and public opinion spoke only of the murder of Gentleman Sanders.
Captain George Brown, a handsome gentleman from Ireland, is smitten by Anne Sanders' beauty when by chance he dines with the George and Anne Sanders, Drurie, and Roger. Determined to sleep with her and hopefully marry her, he works through Drurie with Roger's help to be alone with her and then to murder her husband. Foiled twice in his murder plot, his third try is successful as he viciously slays George and George's hapless travelling companion, John Bean. He immediately has qualms of conscience, but he sends a bloody handkerchief to Anne by Roger to show that he has slain her husband as promised. He stops by the Buttery at Court for ale, tries unsuccessfully to see Anne, disputes with Drury over responsibility for the murder, and flees using money Drury had gathered. He is arrested in Butcher Browne's house at Rochester, insisting on his innocence, but is taken to Master Barnes' house where John Bean identifies him as the assailant. Taken to justice, he admits his crime, but tries to the end to protect Anne Sanders by insisting upon her innocence, despite his concern that lying will hurt is soul. He begs to be buried immediately and not be hung in chains, makes a long confession about his bad nature, and leaps off the scaffold with the rope around his neck. The Council has his body hung in chains on Shooters Hill where he committed his murders.
George Browne's Brother, Anthony, is in Newgate Prison for a murder committed in York, when George is brought there for execution. The Lord Justice discovers this when trying Browne, and the two brothers are allowed to meet briefly before George is hung. They compare crimes, and Browne boasts that "Englands two greatest townes, [are]/ Both fild with murders done by both the Brownes."
This butcher of Rochester calls George Browne "coosin" (cousin) and is addressed as "coosin" by him. Although the two are not directly related, George knew the butcher well enough to seek refuge in his home after his killings, pretending that he is hiding from a creditor. George is apprehended at the Butcher's residence, but Butcher Browne neither questioned nor accused. Instead, he and the Mayor of Rochester exchange pleasantries.
In Dumb Show I Chastitie, dressed in white, tries to pull Anne Sanders back as Lust leads her to George Browne. When Anne embraces Lust and thrusts Chastitie aside, Chastitie "wringes her hands, and departs." In Dumb Show III Chastitie tries to tell her grief to Mercy, but Mercy will not listen, so Chastitie wakes sleeping Justice who helps her. Chastitie accompanies the Officers of Justice to bring in the corpse of George Sanders along with Anne Sanders, Drury, and Roger. Later, Chastitie goes with Diligence to locate George Browne.
The young, unnamed children of Anne Sanders, who included Young Sanders and Son to George and Anne Sanders, both listed among The Characters, as well as a daughter, are allowed to visit her just before she is hung. When she tells them that she is not worthy of being called mother, they plead with her not to turn away but to bless them. She urges them to learn from her fall, to follow virtue and not sin, and she gives them each a kiss and a book of holy meditations.
The Cleark tells George Browne to step up to the bar and raise his hand. He then reads the indictment against Browne, giving the location, date, and time of the killing. He asks Browne how he pleads. After Browne is sentenced and led out, the Cleark reads the indictments and asks the pleading of Anne Sanders and Anne Drurie.
In the Induction Comedie spares verbally with Tragedie and assures Hystorie that Tragedie cannot banish them from the stage because people would then stop coming the theater. Tragedie becomes angry, cracking her whip at Comedie, throwing her and Hystorie off the stage for the day. Comedie departs, promising to return "with myrthfull jeasts" the next day.
Will, or Wil Crow, a carpenter, meets his friend, Tom Peart, whom he has not seen for some time. They discuss the upcoming hanging of Ann Drewry, Ann Sanders, and Roger, the gallows for which Tom has just helped build. Will says he would like to see the execution, and the two go off for a beer while they wait.
In Dumb Show III Justice dispatches his servant, Diligence, to accompany Chastitie in search of George Sanders' murderer.
The Doctor comes to see Anne Sanders at Newgate Prison when she was with Anne Drurie, and he urges them both to prepare for death. When Anne Sanders confesses to her part in the murder of her husband, the Doctor congratulates her. He then tells her that her children are coming to say goodbye.
The Draper and the Milliner deliver goods Anne Sanders has ordered when she is speaking with Anne Drurie in the presence of her husband's servant. When Anne asks the servant for the money she had requested from her husband to buy the items, he replies that her husband had told him not to give her any. The Draper offers to let her have the linen on credit, but she, embarrassed and in pain, declines. Drurie seizes upon her disappointment to foretell that she will soon be a widow and marry George Browne.
Also spelled Drurie and Drewry. Surgeon, soothsayer, and widow; employer and partner of Roger, her trusted associate and companion in crime; and false friend to George and especially Anne Sanders; Drewry agrees to accept George Browne's money to lure Anne Sanders into sleeping with him. Knowing how devoted Anne is to her husband, she cunningly uses her soothsaying prowess to convince Anne that she is destined to marry Browne. Anne resists but succumbs to adultery. Drewry then pushes and abets Browne into murdering George Sanders, providing Roger's help at every stage, particularly when Browne waivers in his intention. After the murder she helps Browne escape, fearing for her own safety, by enlisting Roger to sell plate to raise the necessary funds. When Browne is caught, and she, Roger, and Anne Sanders are brought in for questioning, she pleads not guilty but later accepts her fate. She implicates Anne Sanders and refuses to recant when Anne asks her to do so to save her life. She is with Anne Sanders at the end when they both make confession to the Doctor before their execution.
Nan Drewry is a familiar name for Anne Drewry that both George Browne, George Sanders, and Anne Sanders all use at one time or another.
Summoned by Tragedie in Dumb Show I to prepare for the "bloudy feast," the Furies "spread the table" and then dance in as ushers for Lust, George Browne, and Anne Sanders with Drewry pushing Chastitie aside and Roger following. When Lust drinks to Browne, he to Sanders, and she in turn pledges to him, the Furies "leape and imbrace one another."
One Gentleman walks with George Sanders toward his home, and they speak of friendship, each remembering himself to the other's wife. This Gentleman hails a Prentice and directs him to lead Sanders home with a torch, but Sanders declines, saying there was light enough. A second Gentleman, walking home attended by a torch bearer, meets Sanders on the way and insists on accompanying him home, thereby thwarting George Browne's first attempted ambush of Sanders.
George Sanders, "a hansome comely ancient gentleman," is a merchant, devoted husband of Anne Sanders, and father of her children. In the opening scene he, his wife, and Anne Drewry make acquaintance with George Browne at dinner, and Sanders discusses Browne's homeland, Ireland, with him, commenting that the Irish will not "live under law." Preoccupied with the Exchange, he regularly keeps his wife waiting after work and on one occasion embarrasses her by refusing money to purchase what he dismisses as "trifling wares," thus giving Drewry an opening to lure her into adultery with Browne. On his last day on earth, he arrives home late from work to find John Bean waiting him to summon him to Master Barnes' home. Along the way Bean becomes frightened,urging him to turn back, but Sanders insists that they proceed. A few steps later Browne assaults the defenseless pair, killing Sanders. As he is being stabbed, he asks God's mercy for himself and for Browne.
Harry plays a game after school with his friend, Young Sanders, in the front doorway of the Sanders home. This blocks George Browne's attempt to visit Anne Sanders after he killed her husband. Browne enlists Roger to remove the boys, and they leave when Roger promises not to tell their fathers that they were playing forbidden games.
A familiar name for Roger used both by Anne Drewry and by George Browne.
Master Humpherie comes to Court with the Mayor of Rochester and George Browne, but he never speaks.
Hystorie scolds Comedie in the Induction as they both contend with Tragedie to seize control of the play. Hystorie declares, "My meaning was to have been here to day," no doubt because the play was based on actual historical events, but he observes that the stage is hung in black, preparing the audience for Tragedie. In consequence, Hystorie steps aside for Tragedie, but proclaims, "To Morrow here Ile domineere againe."
Master James is at the Buttery at Court when George Browne appears after murdering George Sanders. Browne drinks heartily and James asks if had come in such haste from London. James notes that Browne has blood on his hose, to which Browne concocts a story about it being hare's blood from a hunt that morning. Later, when the Lords hear testimony for the arrest warrant, James identifies Browne's attire and confirms the blood stain on Browne's hose. Later still, James is with the Mayor of Rochester at Butcher Browne's and identifies George Browne as the suspect. He convinces the Mayor to convey Browne to Master Barnes' house and accompanies him there, where he hears Bean positively identify Browne as the killer. Next, at court, James announces that the Mayor has brought Browne, and soon brings a letter from the Sheriffs of London written by Drurie and Roger stating that Anne Sanders had consented to the murder of her husband. Finally, on the day of execution, James rebukes the Minister for declaring Anne Sanders innocent and seeking her pardon, accusing him of so doing only because he wanted to marry her. Because of this impiety, James has the Minister placed a pillory near the gallows.
Joane, also spelled Jone, Old John's maid, is with him on the road when they meet John Bean, her sweetheart, heading toward George Sanders' house. Joane tells Bean of her dreams about him, and they speak lovingly to each other. The three travel a way together, and she asks him to buy her a ribbon and urges him to be careful on his journey. Later, she is thinking out loud with Old John about Bean being married, when they come upon the bloody, nearly dead Bean. She almost swoons, but Old John insists that she bind Bean's wounds and help move the corpse of George Sanders. When Old John has her help carry Bean home, Joane says her "joy is laide to sleepe."
Justice enters with Mercy in Dumb Show III, sits, and promptly falls asleep. Wronged Chastitie wakens Justice, and, after listening to her story, Justice dispatches his Officers who apprehend and bring in Sanders, Drury, and Roger. Chastitie appeals again, and Justice sends Diligence out to find the murderer.
KEEPER of NEWGATE
Anne Sanders asks the Keeper of Newgate Prison to bring Drurie to her, and he obliges. Then she asks him to allow them a word in private, and he does.
The Lord Justice, presiding over the trials of George Browne, Anne Sanders, Anne Drurie,and Roger with four other Lords also on the bench, calls first for Browne to be brought before them and the indictment read by the Cleark. When Browne pleads guilty, he tells the Sheriff that no jury would be needed, and he asks Browne whether he had any reasons why he should not hang. Browne asks only that he not be hung in changes and that Anne Sanders be spared. In response, the Lord Justice is reassuring but makes no promises. Instead, he asks whether Anthony Browne, also in Newgate, is Browne's brother. When Browne says they are, he declares them "two bad brothers." He also condemns Browne to death and sends him away. When the indictment against Anne Sanders is read and she is accused by Drurie and Roger, he urges her to to tell the truth. After he condemns her to hang alongside Drurie and Roger, he again calls on her to repent.
The Lord Mayor enters the judgment room with the Lord Justice and four other Lords. Since the trial of George Browne is to begin, the Lord Mayor asks the others to take their places.
Four Lords appear with Master James and three messengers at Court when arrest warrants are being issued. They hear that John Bean has identified Browne, and they learn from a waterman that Browne used his hat to cover a bloody spot on his hose. Convinced of Browne's guilt, they have warrants drawn up for Browne's arrest, the ports notified, and the Sheriff sent to search for the murderer. After Browne is captured, the Lords at Court send messengers to the Justices in London to have indictments prepared. When the Mayor of Rochester brings Browne by the Court, the four Lords question him and one remarks that Browne had been respected by them all but was overthrown by "wanton lust." They send him on to Westminster, where the Lord Justice and four other Lords sit in judgment, questioning Browne, Anne Sanders, Anne Drurie, and Roger.
Lust leads George Browne to the "bloudy feast" in Dumb Show I, drinks to him, and embraces Anne Sanders. In Dumb Show II Lust brings forth Browne and Roger at one end; Anne Sanders and Anne Drurie at the other. When a tree suddenly grows up between them, keeping them apart, Lust offers an axe to Sanders, but she refuses it. Then Lust offers the axe to Browne, who cuts down the tree, allowing the couples to run together and embrace.
MAYOR of ROCHESTER
The Mayor, also spelled Maior, of Rochester comes to Butcher Browne's house with Master James and the Pursuivant, where he charges George Browne with murder and arrests him. At James' urging he directs his officers to take Browne to John Bean at Master Barnes' residence. After Bean identifies Browne, the Mayor of Rochester conducts Browne first to Court and then to the Justices in London.
Mercy enters with Justice in Dumb Show III, takes a seat, refuses to listen to Chastitie.
Two Messengers enter with the Lords at Court when the Lords are taking testimony in preparation for issuing warrants for George Browne's arrest. After hearing all the news, the Lords tell the Messengers that they will not need to spread word of George Sanders' killing because the "hew and cry" would spread it. Later, when the Lords at Court are preparing indictments, two messengers tell the story of Browne's capture and positive identification as the murderer. Finally, as Browne is executed, a messenger arrives to tell the Sheriff that the Council wanted Browne's body hung in chains on Shooters Hill, the murder spot.
The Milliner, also spelled Miliner, and the Draper deliver goods Anne Sanders has ordered when she is with Anne Drurie and her husband's servant. Devoted wife Sanders demands the money she had requested from her husband to buy the items, but the servant replies that her husband had told him not to give her any. The Milliner offers to let her have the purse and gloves on credit, but she, embarrassed and hurt, declines.
On the day of Anne Sanders' execution, the Minister approaches Master James, arguing that Anne is innocent and seeking James' help to produre her pardon. James sees the self-serving lie in the Minister's quest, accusing him of seeking the pardon only so he could marry her. To punish him, James has the Minister locked in a pillory near the place of Anne's execution.
Nan Sanders is a familiar name for Anne Sanders used by George Sanders.
Officers of Justice in Dumb Show III go with Chastitie on Justice's bidding to fetch Ann Sanders, Drury, and Roger along with the corpse of George Sanders. The Officers of the Mayor of Rochester conduct prisoner George Browne to Master Barnes, then to Court, and finally to the Justices. The Mayor addresses the Officers as "Sergeants." Two Officers associated with the Justices prepare the judgment seat for the Lord Justice and four Lords. The second officer entertains the first with a jaunty tale of "lustie Browne."
Olde John, employer of Joan and friend of John Bean, is a comic rustic who reacts with vigor when he overhears Bean cry "false knave" on the trail to Greenwich near the dangerous wood. Once Joan tells Olde John that Bean is the speaker, he calms down and suggests that the three of them walk a way together. It is near this same spot a day or so later that Olde John and Joan encounter the mortally wounded Bean and the corpse of George Sanders. Olde John then acts with great sense as he directs Joan to help him to protect the corpse from birds and beasts, to bind Bean's wounds as much as possible, and to carry Bean home.
The Page comes with the fourth Lord and a waterman to Court when the Lords are examining evidence in preparation for issuing a warrant for arrest. The Page says nothing.
Tom Peart, a carpenter, runs into his old friend, Will Crow, after having worked since 3 a.m. in constructing gallows for the execution of Ann Drewry, Ann Sanders, and Roger. Neither Tom nor Will iswas sure if the hanging would take place that day, but a crowd was gathering in Smithfield, so they bought each other beers.
The Pursuivant comes with the Mayor of Rochester and Master James to Butcher Browne's when they arrest George Browne, but he says nothing.
Called Trusty Roger in The Characters list and sometimes in the stage directions, Roger is devoted servant, intimate companion, and trusted advisor to Anne Drewry. George Browne contacts Drewry through Roger, and Roger urges Drewry to procure Anne Sanders for Browne. He admits that Anne is devoted to her husband, but convinces Drewry that she has the skill to win Anne over and presses Drewry to make Browne pay dearly for the service. Roger stalks George Sanders to find a suitable place for Browne to slay him, advises Browne on how to do it and acts as his lookout. After Browne murders Sanders and Bean, Roger urges Browne to flee and carries the bloody handkerchief from Browne to Drewry. He clears Young Sanders and Harry from the Sanders' front door so that Browne might gain access, and he raises funds for Browne's escape. After Drewry and Anne Sanders have pleaded not guilty, Roger is summoned to give testimony refuting theirs, thus condemning them to death.
Family name of Anne (Nan), George, "Son,"and Young Sanders.
Sergeants is the name the Mayor of Rochester uses in addressing the Officers guarding George Browne.
The Servant, also known as Sanders' Man, keeps track of George Sanders' money and investments and answers his questions about them. When Sanders' wife, Anne, wants to buy cloth and other items, Sanders' Man asks his employer whether she should be given the money. The Servant enforces Sanders' refusal of money in front of the Milliner, the Draper, and Anne Drurie, thus embarrassing Anne Sanders, intentionally or unintentionally.
Also spelled Shiriff and Sheriffe. Taking George Browne to be executed, the Sheriffe says that Browne's brother is in Newgate for murder and would like to speak with him. After allowing Browne to talk with his brother, the Sheriffe asks Browne to tell the truth about what Anne Sanders knew about her husband's death. He tells Browne that Anne Drurie had accused her. After Browne is hung, a messenger arrives to direct the Sheriff to hang Browne's body in chains, and the Sheriff replies, "It shal be done." In the final scene the Sheriffe comes with holberds (halberdiers) conducting Roger to collect Anne Sanders and Anne Drurie to escort them all to the gallows.
"Son, to George and Anne Sanders" and "Young Sanders" both appear in the list of characters. In the text the former is described as Anne Sanders' "little sonne"; the latter as George Sanders' "yong sonne." Their dialogue and school circumstances are similar, but this boy appears to be younger. At home one day he asks his mother when they would eat, and she replies they would eat when his father returned from the Exchange. He asks for new clothing, and she promises new clothes at Easter. She asks him to see that his sister locked the closet, and he says he will get some fruit at the same time. He leaves when George Browne approaches the house.
The Torch Bearer carries a torch for the second Gentleman that George Sanders meets and provides light for them back to the Sanders' residence. Although Torch Bearer appears in The Characters list, this character is not mentioned as such in the text but rather as "man with a torch" in the stage directions.
Tragedie has the first dialogue in the Induction and the last word of the Epilogue, dominating both. Tragedie also is the only speaker in the three Dumb Shows. Using her whip and critical remarks, Tragedie banishes both Hystorie and Comedie from the stage for the day. In Dumb Show I Tragedie enters with a "bowle of Bloud," calls her "dreadful Furies forth," and describes in detail the murderous, lustful, and adulterous behavior that George Brown, Anne Sanders, Anne Drewry, and Roger are concurrently miming on stage. In Dumb Show II Tragedie uses symbols to describe Browne's murder of George Sanders, and in Dumb Show III she foretells the trials and executions, "Measure for measure, and lost bloud for bloud." In her concluding dialogue Tragedie reminds that audience that the story is true and that anything the play lacked would on the morrow be "Perform'd by Hystorie or Comedie."
Roger is listed as Trusty Roger in the dramatis personae and is called that once in the stage directions as well as in the long, descriptive title of the play.
A Waterman rows George Sanders back from Greenwich and thanks him for his tip. A second Waterman rows George Browne, notices his bloody hose and the clothing he was wearing, and confirms them to the Lords at Court who are taking testimony to determine whether an arrest warrant should be issued.
YEOMAN of the BUTTERY
A Yeoman of the Buttery at Court welcomes George Browne when Browne races there after murdering Sanders and asks him whether he wants ale or beer. When Browne drinks it down, the Yeoman offers another. He asserts that the blood on Browne's hose seems fresh, and agrees that it could be cleaned with soak and water.
Yong Sanders, son of George and Anne Sanders, comes home from school with his friend, Harry, and convinces Harry to play a forbidden game with him at the Sanders' front door. Harry expresses concern that they might get caught. but Young Sanders reassures him that his father would not be home until night. Unknowingly, the two block the door for the murderer, George Bowne, who comes to see Young Sanders' mother. Browne asks Roger to get the children out of the way, which Roger does by promising not to tell either of their fathers that they were playing the game.
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