• Enter a CARRIER with a lantern in his hand

    FIRST CARRIER

    Heigh-ho! An it be not four by the day, I’ll be hanged. Charles’s Wain is over the new chimney, and yet our horse not packed.—What, ostler!

    OSTLER

    (within) Anon, anon.

    FIRST CARRIER

    5I prithee, Tom, beat Cut’s saddle. Put a few flocks in the point. Poor jade is wrung in the withers out of all cess.
    Enter another CARRIER

    SECOND CARRIER

    Peas and beans are as dank here as a dog, and that is the next way to give poor jades the bots. This house is turned upside down since Robin ostler died.

    FIRST CARRIER

    10Poor fellow never joyed since the price of oats rose. It was the death of him.

    SECOND CARRIER

    I think this be the most villanous house in all London road for fleas. I am stung like a tench.

    FIRST CARRIER

    Like a tench? By the Mass, there is ne'er a king christen could be better bit than I have been since the first cock.
  • FIRST CARRIER enters, holding a lantern.

    FIRST CARRIER

    I’ll be damned if it isn’t 4 A.M. already. The Big Dipper has already risen above the chimney, and our horses aren’t ready yet. Hey, ostler!

    ostler!

    ostler = horse attendant at an inn

    OSTLER

    (offstage) Just a second!

    FIRST CARRIER

    Hey, Tom, give the saddle of my horse, Cut, a few whacks to soften it up, and stuff some wool under it—the old nag’s got some bad bruises on her shoulders.

    Tom

    Tom may be the name of either the ostler or the Second Carrier.

    SECOND CARRIER enters.

    SECOND CARRIER

    The feed here’s as damp as anything. That’s a fast way for a horse to get parasites. This stable’s upside down since Ostler Robin died.

    FIRST CARRIER

    Poor guy. Once the price of oats went up, he was never happy again. It killed him.

    SECOND CARRIER

    This stable’s got worse fleas than any in London. I’m stung like a tench.

    tench

    A tench is a type of fish with markings that look like flea-bites.

    FIRST CARRIER

    Like a tench? I’m telling you, not even a king could be bitten more than I’ve been bitten since midnight.