A caueat o[r warening, for [?]] common cursetor[s vulgarely called [?]] vagabones, set forth by Tho[mas Harman, Esquier, for the [?]] vtilitie and profit of his natur[all countrey. Newly augmented and [?] en]larged by the first author [...] the tale of the second ta[...] crank, with the true [...]or, and also his puni[...] dissembling, most [...] hearer or reader [...]
Harman, Thomas, fl. 1567.

¶ A Walking Morte. Cap. 19.

THese walking Mortes be not maryed, these for their vnhappye yeares doth go as a Autem Morte, and will saye their husbands died either at Newhauen Ireland, or in some seruice of the Prince. These make laces vpon staues & purses that they cary in their hands and white vallance for beddes. Many of these hath hadde, and haue children: when these get ought, either with begging bychery or bry¦bery as money or apparell, they are quickly shaken out of all by the vpright men, that they are in a maruelous feare to cary any thing a∣bout them that is of any value. Wherefore, this pollicy they vse, they leaue their money now with one and then with another truty housholder, eyther with the good man or good wyfe, some tyme in one shire, and then in another as they trauell: this haue I knowne yPage  [unnumbered] iiij. or v. shillings, yea x. shillinges left in a place, and the same will they come for againe within one quarter of a yere or some time not in halfe a yeare, and all this is to little purpose, for all their pnishe pollicie: for when they bye them lynnen or garmentes, it is taken a∣way from them and worse giuen them, or none at all.

The last Sommer Anno Domini 1566. beinge in familiar talks with a walkīg Mort, that came to my gate. I learned by hir what I could, & I thought I had gathered as much for my purpose as I de∣sired, I began to rebuke her for hir leud life and beastly behauior, de¦claring to her what punishment was prepared & heaped vp for her in the world to come for hit filthy liuing and wretched conuersation. God helpe q she how should I liue, none will take me into seruice, but I labour in haruest time honestly. I think bat a whyle with ho∣nesty q I. Shall I tell you q she, the best of vs may bee amended, but yit I thanke God, I did one good déed within this xii. monthes, wherin q I. Saith she I would not haue it spoken of again: if it be méete and necessary, q I, it shall lye vnder my feete: what mean you by that quoth she. I meane q I, to hide the same and neuer to disco∣uer it to any. Well q she and began to laugh as much as she could & sware by the masse that if I disclosed the same to any she would ne∣uer tell me any thinge. The last sommer q she I was greate wyth childe and I traueled into east kent by the sea coast, for I lusted mar¦uelously after oyster and mskels and gathered many, & in the place where I found them, I opened them and eate them still, at the laste in séeking more, I reached after one and stept into a hole and fel in, into the wast & their did stick, and I had ben drowned if the tide had come, and espying a man a good way of, I cryed as much as I could for helpe. I was alone, he hard me and repaired as fast to me as hee might, and finding me their fast sticking, I required for Gods sake his helpe, and whether it was with stryuing and forcing my self or for ioy I had of his comming to me, I had a great colour in my face and loked red and well coloured. And to be playne with you, hee ly∣ked me so well (as he said) that I should there lye still, and I would not graūt him that she might lye with me. And by my trouth I wist not what to answere, I was in such a perpleritie, for I knew ye man well, he had a very honest womā to his wyfe and was of som welth and on the other syde, if I were not helpe out, I shoulde there haue perished, and I graunted him that I would obeye to his will, then be plucked me out. And because there was no conuenient place néer hand, I required him that I might go washe my selfe and make me Page  [unnumbered] somewhat clenly, and I would come to his house and lodge al night in his barne, whether he might repayre to me and accomplishe his desire, but let it not be quoth she before nine of the clocke at nyght, for then there wilbe small styrring. And I may repayre to the town q she to warme & drye my self, for this was about two of the clocke in the after none, do so quoth he, for I must be busie to looke out my cattell here by before I can come home. So I went away from him and glad was I, and why so quoth I, because quoth she his wife my good dame is my very friend, and I am much beholding to hir And she had donne mee so muche good or this, that I were loth nowe to harme hir any way. Why so quoth I? what and it had ben any other man and not your good dames husband. The matter hadd bene the lesse quoth she. Tell me I pray thee quoth I, who was the father of the childe, she studied a whyle and sayd that it had a father, but what was hee quoth I? Nowe by my troth I know not quoth shee, you bring me out of my matter, so you do, well say on quoth I, then I departed strayte to the towne and came to my dames house. And shewed her of my misfortune, also of her husbands vsage in al poin∣tes and that I showed her the same for good will and bydd her take better héed to her husband and to her selfe, so shee gaue mee great thankes and made me good chéere, and byd me in anye case that I should be redy at the barne at that time and houre we had apointed for I know well quoth this good wife my husband will not breake with thée. And one thing I warne thée that thou giue me a watche word a loude when he goeth about to haue his pleasure of thée, and that shalbée fye for shame fye, and I will bee harde by you, wyth helpe. But I charge thee kepe this secret vntill all be finished, and hold sayth this good wyfe here is one of my pe••cotes I giue thee. I thanke you good dame quoth I, and I warrante you I will bee true and trusty vnto you. So my dame left me sittinge by a good fyer with meate and drinke, and wyth the oysters I brought wyth me, I hadde great chéere, she went strayte and repayred vnto her gossipes dwelling thereby, and as I did after vnderstand, she made her mone to them, what a naughtye lewed lecherous husband thee hadde, and how that she could not haue his companye for harottes, and that she was in feare to take some filthy disease of him, he was so common a man, hauing little respect whom he hdde to do with all, and quoth she now here is one at my house a poore woman that goeth about the countrey that he would haue hadde to doe with all, wherfore good neighboures and louinge gossypes as you loue mee Page  [unnumbered] and as you would haue helpe at my hand another tyme, deuyse some remedy to make my husband a good man, y I may liue in som suerty without disease, and that hée may saue his soule that God so dearely bought. After shée had tolde her tale they cast their perstnge eyes all vpon her, but one stout dame amongst the rest had these wordes: As your pacient bearing of troubles, your honest behauiour among vs your neighbours, your tender and pitifull harte to the poore of the parish, doth moue vs to lament your case, so the vnsatiable carnaliti of your faithlesse husband doth instigate and styrre vs to deuyse and inuent some spedy redresse for your case and the amendment of his lyfe. Wherfore this is my counceld and you wil be aduertised hyme I say to you all, vnlesse it be this good wyfe, who is chefely touched in this matter I haue the next cause, for hée was in hande with me not longe agoe, and company had not ben present whiche was by a maruelous chaunce, he had (I thinke) forced me. For often he hadde ben tempting with me, and yet haue I sharpely sayd him nay, ther∣fore let vs assemble secretly into the place where hée hath appointed to méete this gyllot that is at your house and lyrke pryuely in some corner tyll he begin to goe about his busines. And then me thought I hard you say euen now, that you had a watch word, at which word we will all stepp forth beinge fiue of vs besides you, for you shalbe none because it is your husband, but get you to bed at your accusto∣med houre, and we will carry eche of vs a good byrchen rod in oure laps, and we will all be muffeled for knowing, and sée that you goe home and acquaint that walking mort with the matter forwe must haue her helpe to hold, for always foure must hold and two lay on. Alas saith this good wyfe, be is to strong for you al, I would be loth for my sake you should receiue harme at his hande: feare you not q these stout wemen, let her not giue the watch word vntill his hosen be about his legges, and I trow we all wilbe with him to bring be∣fore he shall haue leasuce to plucke them vp agayne: they with one voyce agréed to yt mattēr that ye way she had deuised was the best: so this good wife repaired home: but before she departed frō hir gosseps she shewed thē at what hour they shuld priuely cum in on ye backside & ther to tary their good hour, so by ye time she cam in, it was almost night and found the walking morte still sitting by the fier & decla∣red to her al this new deuise aboue said, which promised faithfullye to fulfill to her small power as much as they had deuised, within a quarter of an houre after, in cōmeth ye good man who said yt hee was about his cartell, why what haue we here wife sitting by the fire, & Page  [unnumbered] if she haue eate and dronk send her into the barne to hir lodging for this night, for she troubleth the house: euen as you will husbande, saith his wife, you know she commeth once in two yeres into these quarters. Away sayth this good wyfe in your lodginge: yes good dame saith she as fast as I can, thus by loking one on the other eche knew others mynd, and so departed to her comely couche, the good man of the house shrodge him for ioy, thinkinge to him selfe I will make som pastime with you an one. And calling to his wyfe for his supper set him downe and was very pleasant & dranke to his wife & fel to his mammerings and moūched a pace, nothing vnderstāding of the banquet that was a preparing for him after supper, & accordīg to the prouerbe (that swéet meat will haue sowre sauce,) thus when he was well refreshed, his spirites being reuiued entred into fami∣liar talk with his wyfe, of many matters how well he had spent that day to both their profytes, saying some of his cattell were lyke to haue bin drowned in the diches, dryuing others of his neighboures cattel out that were in his pasturs, & mending his fences that were broken down. Thus profitably he had consumed the daye, nothinge talking of his helping out of the walking mort out of the mier, nei∣ther of his request nor yit of hir promise. Thus feding hir wt frendly fantasies consumed two houres and more. Then fayning howe hes would sée in what case his horse were in and how they were dressed, repaired couertly into the barne whereas his friendly foes lyrked priuely vnlesse it were this manerly Morte, that comly couched on a bottell of straw. What are you come q she, by ye masse I would not for a hundreth pound that my dame should know that you wer here either any els of your house. No I warrant thée saith this good man, they be all safe and fast inough at their work, and I will be at myne anon And lay downe by her and straight would haue had to do with her, nay fye saith she, I like not this order, if ye lye with me you shal surely vntxusse you & put down your hosen for that way is most ea∣siest and best, saiest thou so quoth he, now my troth agréed: and whē he had vntrussed himself and put down, he began to assalt the vnsa∣tiable sort, why quoth she that was without shame, sauinge for her promes, and are you not ashamed? neuer a whyt sayth he, lye downe quickely, nowe fye for shame, fye sayth shée aloude (which was the watch word) At the which word these fyue furious sturdy muffeled gossips flynges out and takes sure holde of this betrayed person, sone plucking his hosen down lower, and bindinge the same fast a∣bout his féete, then binding his handes and knittinge a hande char∣her Page  [unnumbered] about his eyes, that hée should not sée, and when they had made him sure and fast, then they layd him on vntill they were windles: be good saith this Morte vnto my mayster for the passion of God, & layd on as fast as the rest, and still ceased not to crye vpon them too be mercyfull vnto him, and yet layd on a pace, and when they hadde well beaten him that the bloud braste plentifully out in most places they let him lye still bounde, with this exhortation, that he shoulde from that tyme foorth knowe his wyfe from other mens, and that this punishment was but a flebyting in respect of that which should follow, if he amended not his manners. Thus leauing him bluste∣ring, blowing and foming for payne and malencolye, that hée ney∣ther might or could be reuenged of them: they vanished awaye and had this morte with them, ad safely conuayd her out of the towne: soone after commeth into the barne one of the good mans boyes to set some haye for his horse. And fynding his maister lying fast boūd and greuously beaten with roddes, was sodainly abashed and wold haue runne out agayne to haue called for helpe, but his maister hyd him come vnto him and vnbinde him, and make no woordes quoth he of this. I wilbe reuenged well ynough, yet notwithstandinge af∣ter better aduyse, the matter being vnhonest, he thought it méeter to let the same passe, and not as the prouerbe sayth (to awake the sléeping dogge.) And by my troth quoth this walking morte, I com now from that place and w is neuer there sythens this parte was playd, which is somewhat more then a yeare. And I heare a verye good report of him now, that he loueth his lyfe well and vseth hym selfe very honestly: and was not this a good acte, now how say you? It was pretely handeled quoth I, and is here all? yea quoth shee, here is the end.