Henry Craik, ed. English Prose. 1916. Vol. I. Fourteenth to Sixteenth Century
How the Warren Is Made
By Thomas Dekker (c. 15701632)
AFTER a rain, conies use to come out of their holes and to sit nibbling on weeds or anything in the cool of the evening, and after a revelling when younger brothers have spent all, or in gaming have lost all, they sit plotting in their chambers with necessity how to be furnished presently with a new supply of money. They will take up any commodity whatsoever, but their names stand in too many texted letters already in mercers and scriveners books: upon a hundred pounds worth of roasted beef they could find in their hearts to venture, for that would away in turning of a hand: but where shall they find a butcher or a cook that will let any man run so much upon the score for flesh only?
Suppose therefore that four of such loose-fortuned gallants were tied in one knot, and knew not how to fasten themselves upon some wealthy citizen. At the length it runs into their heads that such a young novice (who daily serves to fill up their company) was never entangled in any city lime-bush: they know his present means to be good, and those to come to be great: him therefore they lay upon the anvil of their wits, till they have wrought him like wax, for himself as well as for them: to do anything in wax, or indeed till they have won him to slide upon this ice, (because he knows not the danger) is he easily drawn: for he considers within himself that they are all gentlemen well descended, they have rich fathers, they wear good clothes, have been gallant spenders, and do now and then (still) let it fly freely: he is to venture upon no more rocks than all they, what then should he fear? he therefore resolves to do it, and the rather because his own exhibition runs low, and that there lack a great many weeks to the quarter day; at which time he shall be refurnished from his father.
The match being agreed upon, one of them that has been an old ferret-monger, and knows all the tricks of such hunting seeks out a tumbler, that is to say a fellow, who beats the bush for them till they catch the birds, he himself being contented (as he protests and swears) only with a few feathers.