Cony-Catching - A merry Tale taken not far from Fetter Lane end, of a new-found cony-catcher, that was cony-catched himself.

A merry Tale taken not far from Fetter Lane end, of a new-found cony-catcher, that was cony-catched himself.

            But amongst all these blithe and merry jests, a little by your leave, if it be no farther than Fetter lane: oh take heed, that's too nigh the Temple: what, then, I will draw as near the sign of the White Hart as I can, and breathing myself by the bottle ale-house, I'll tell you a merry jest how a cony-catcher was used.

            So it fell out, that a gentleman was sick and purblind, and went to a good honest man's house to sojourn, and taking up his chamber grew so sick that the goodman of the house hired a woman to keep and attend day and night upon the gentleman: this poor woman, having a good conscience, was careful of his welfare, and looked to his diet, which was so slender that the man, although sick, was almost famished, so that the woman would no longer stay, but bade his host provide him of some other to watch with him sith it grieved her to see a man lie and starve for want of food, especially being set on the score for meat and drink in the space of a fortnight four pounds. The goodman of the house at last, hearing how the poor woman did find fault with his scoring, the gentleman not only put her out of doors without wages, but would have arrested her, for taking away his good name, and defaming and slandering him, and with that calling one of his neighbours to him, said neighbour, whereas such a bad-tongued woman hath reported to my discredit that the gentleman that lies sick in my house wants meat, and yet runs very much on the score, I pray you, judge by his diet whether he be famished or no: first, in the morning he hath a caudle next his heart, half an hour after that, a quart of sugar sops; half an hour after that a neck of mutton in broth, half an hour after that chickens in sorrel sops, and an hour after that, a joint of roast meat for his dinner: now, neighbour, having this provision, you may judge whether he be spoiled for lack of meat or no, and to what great charges his diet will arise: whereas in truth, the poor gentleman would have been glad of the least of these, for he could get none at all. But the cozening knave thought to verse upon him, and one day, seeing money came not briefly to the gentleman, took some of his apparel, his cloak, I guess, and pawned it for forty shillings, whereas, God wot, all he eat in that time was not worth a crown: well, the gentleman seeing how the knave went about to cony-catch him, and that he had taken his cloak, smothered all for revenge, and watched opportunity to do it, and on a time, seeing the goodman out, borrowed a cloak far better than his own of the boy, saying that he would go to a friend of his to fetch money for his master, & discharge the house: the boy lending it him, away walks the gentleman, though weak after this great diet, and never came at the tailor's house to answer him cloak or money. And thus was he cony-catched himself, that thought to have versed upon another.

FINIS

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