• Enter PRINCE HENRY and POINS

    PRINCE HENRY

    Ned, prithee, come out of that fat room and lend me thy hand to laugh a little.

    POINS

    Where hast been, Hal?

    PRINCE HENRY

    With three or four loggerheads amongst three or fourscore hogsheads. I have sounded the very bass string of humility. Sirrah, I am sworn brother to a leash of drawers, and can call them all by their christen names, as Tom, Dick, and Francis. They take it already upon their salvation that though I be but Prince of Wales, yet I am the king of courtesy, and tell me flatly am no proud jack, like Falstaff, but a Corinthian, a lad of mettle, a good boy—by the Lord, so they call me—and when I am King of England, I shall command all the good lads in Eastcheap. They call drinking deep “dyeing scarlet,” and when you breathe in your watering, they cry “Hem!” and bid you “Play it off!” To conclude, I am so good a proficient in one quarter of an hour that I can drink with any tinker in his own language during my life. I tell thee, Ned, thou hast lost much honor that thou wert not with me in this action; but, sweet Ned—to sweeten which name of Ned, I give thee this pennyworth of sugar, clapped even now into my hand by an underskinker, one that never spake other English in his life than “Eight shillings and sixpence,” and “You are welcome,” with this shrill addition, “Anon, anon, sir.—Score a pint of bastard in the Half-moon,” or so. But, Ned, to drive away the time till Falstaff come, I prithee, do thou stand in some by-room while I question my puny drawer to what end he gave me the sugar; and do thou never leave calling “Francis,” that his tale to me may be nothing but “Anon.” Step aside, and I’ll show thee a precedent.
  • PRINCE HENRY and POINS enter.

    PRINCE HENRY

    Ned, come out of that airless room and help me laugh a bit.

    POINS

    Where’ve you been, Hal?

    PRINCE HENRY

    With three or four knuckleheads and a few dozen kegs of liquor. I’ve been with the lowest of the low. Sirrah, I’ve made great friends with these three bartenders, and I’m on a first-name basis with them: Tom, Dick, and Francis. They swear on their souls that, even though I’m only the Prince of Wales, I’m the king of niceness. They say I’m no pompous fool, like Falstaff, but a good sport, a spirited man, a good boy. When I’m King of England, all the good men of Eastcheap will follow me gladly. When you drink deeply, they joke that you have been dyed red; and if you stop for a breath when you’re drinking, they yell “Cough!” and they command you to keep going. In fifteen minutes, I got so good at being a drinking companion, I could be at ease with any man over a drink, in any setting. Ned, you didn’t do yourself any favors by missing this. But, sweet Ned, I’ll sweeten the name Ned with this bit of sugar, given to me by an apprentice drawer who never spoke any English his whole life, except, “That’ll be eight shillings and sixpence,” and “You’re welcome,” and also, “Just a second, just a second! Bring a pint of bastard to the Half-Moon room!” But Ned, let’s pass the time until Falstaff gets here. Hide in a side room while I ask that little apprentice drawer why he gave me the sugar. Keep calling out his name, Francis, and don’t stop, so that all he’s able to say is, “Just a second!” Step aside, and I’ll give you a taste.

    drawer

    drawer = tapster; bartender

    bastard

    bastard = a kind of Spanish wine, mixed with honey

    Half-Moon

    Half-Moon is the name of a room at the inn.