Tom Dough, Part 2
To playwrights in Philip Henslowe's diary
- Fol. 92 (Greg, I.145)
lent vnto John daye the same time [i.e. 30 July 1601] in earnest of upon } a Boocke called the 2 ꝑt of thome dowghe the some of . . . xs }
- Fol. 93v (Greg, I.148}
Lente vnto the company the 3 of septmbʒ } 1601 to paye vnto John daye & wm } iijll hawghton in ꝑt of payment of a } Boocke called the 2 ꝑte of thome dowghe }
Lent at the apoyntment of Robart shawe the } 11 of septmbʒ 1601 to lend vnto wm hawghton } xs in ꝑt of payment of the 2 ꝑt of thome } dowghe some of . . . }
The Admiral's Men would have performed the play in the Fortune Theatre, although no performance dates are recorded. Henslowe does not record a final payment for the playwrights.
Possible Narrative and Dramatic Sources or Analogues
It seems plausible that the play was a sequel to "The Six Yeomen of the West," which was likely based Thomas Deloney's novel Thomas of Reading, or, The Six Worthy Yeomen of the West. One of Deloney's eponymous yeomen was "Tom Doue" of Exeter, so perhaps the present play dramatized an episode in which he played a central role. In Deloney's novel, Tom is introduced as a singularly merry figure: "this was as sure as an acte of Parliament, that Tom Doue could not digest his meat without musicke, nor drinke wine with out women, so that his hostesse being a merrie wench, would often times call in two or three of her neighbours wiues to keepe him companie, where, ere they parted, they were made as pleasant as Pies" (sig. A4r). One of the plots that runs through Deloney's novel is the declining fortunes of Tom, who, "through a free heart, and a liberall mind wasted his wealth" (sig. I3v). One episode (chapter 9) tells of the comic misfortunes of two Flemish sergeants ("catchpoles") attempting to arrest Tom for his debts. Tom's story culminates in chapter 14, "How Tom Doue bei[n]g fallen to decay, was forsaken of his friends, and despised of his seruants: and how in the end he was raised againe through the liberality of the Clothiers" (sig. I3v). Much of the chapter consists of Tom's dialogue with his faithless servants, and their plot to arrest Tom for the wages he owes them.
To prepare the denouement of Tom's story, it is likely that this play would have incorporated another subplot from Deloney's novel, that of the murder of Thomas Cole of Reading (chapter 11). The episode involves a wicked host and hostess of Colebrook who prey on wealthy guests traveling alone by lodging them in a room with a trick bed that opens "in maner of a trappe doore" into a boiling cauldron below (sig. G4r). After several plans to kill Thomas Cole are foiled, he arrives at the inn one night with an inexplicable melancholy. Thinking that the presence of Tom Dove would cheer him, he remembers his fellow clothier's poverty and begins to write him a letter. Instead, he unconsciously produces a will bequeathing two hundred pounds to Tom, realizing "I haue written that that God put into my mind" (sig. H1r). After sending the document to Exeter, he bursts into tears, recalling how his daughter had begged him not to travel, crying "O my father, my father, I shall neuer see him againe" (sig. H1v). The playing of musicians reminds Cole of the bells of St Mary Overie, and as he walks to bed he thinks he sees blood on his host's hands. He is murdered in his sleep. The attempts of the host and hostess to conceal their crime are unsuccessful and they are ultimately hanged for their crime. A garbled version of the events are later discussed at the churching of Sutton of Salisbury's wife (chapter 12).
The story of Tom Dove's misfortunes is resolved when, while being led to prison, Tom is interrupted by a messenger with Cole's will (sig. K1r). Tom goes to Reading, where he receives his bequest along with gifts from the other grieving clothiers. He lives the rest of his life in prosperity.
Other events in Deloney's novel may have been dramatized in "The Six Clothiers of the West."
References to the Play
Greg, II notes that in Deloney's novel Tom's last name is apparently pronounced "Dove," evinced by a single rhyme with "love" (sig. B1r), although he allows the possibility that the playwrights may have overlooked this clue (#219, p. 217).
Wiggins, Catalogue (#1301-2) proposes that the play may have dramatized the story of Tom's decline and restoration in Chapter 14 of Deloney's novel. On the title of the play, Wiggins notes the comparison with the sequels to Chettle and Day's The Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green, namely, the two parts of "Tom Strownd."
For What It's Worth
Site created and maintained by Misha Teramura, University of Toronto; updated 11 June 2017.