Outlaws and Highwaymen

Story from Ratseyes Ghost
Ratseyes Ghost (London, 1605), sigs. C3r–C3v; reprinted in The Life and Death of Gamaliel Ratsey, Shakespeare Association Facsimiles No. 10 (London, Oxford University Press, 1935)


How Ratsey vsed a Parsons daughter neere Stamford.

A Parsons daughter dwelling nere Stamford, being sent thiether by her father vppon a market day to buy her stuffe to make her a gowne, had giuen her forty shillings in her purse to doe her markets: trauelling forward, Ratsey met her, who bad her stand and deliuer her purse, for he was a Gentleman, and did want money, and of her he must haue some, the maide fell downe on her knees, and besought Ratsey to be good vnto her and to vse her well for I am a very poore maide (said shee) and haue not that you looke for: Come, come, you are a dissembler, replyed Ratsey againe, and therefore dispatch,1 and yeild me your pursse. Indeede sir I will tell you the very truth, saith she, I haue heere fourtie shillinges which my father hath giuen me to buye me a gowne, and if you take that away from me I am vtterly vndone, for God knowes I shall not get another of him these seauen yeares. Let me see thy money q[uo]d Ratsey, which she deliuered, and he looking on it, and seeing there was iust so muche, put his hande into his pocket, and told her out three angels more,2 which hee gaue vnto her with her owne money againe bidding her to buie her a Petticote also, and speake wel of Ratsey wheresoeuer she came. The Mayde very ioyfully thanked him, but if there passed anye other kindnesse betwixt the Parsons Daughter and him that is more then I am able to affirme.

She comming to Stamford, bestowed her moneye very gallantly: which her brother (meeting her there) maruelled at, for he knew very well what her father had giuen her to bestow: But shee vp and tolde him what had happned, and the whole circumstance how Ratsey had dealt with her which he smiled at, and said he was the honestest theefe that euer he heard of, and wished that if it were his fortune at any time to fall into the hands of such fellowes, he might meete with none of worse minde, or condition.3

Textual Note

Original has ‘dowue’ for ‘downe’


Notes and page design © Gillian Spraggs 2001, 2007
Text added to site on 30 December 2001 | Page last modified on 28 August 2007

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