Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
In Hogsden, a conservative suburb north of London’s wall, Edward Knowell, a dignified, practical citizen, is somewhat concerned over his son Edward’s interest in poetry. Old Knowell is further alarmed that his nephew Stephen, a country simpleton, shows interest in the gentle art of falconry. Old Knowell wishes to have his son and his nephew engaged in more practical arts.
One day he is handed a letter meant for his son. The letter, signed by Wellbred, a London gallant, is an invitation to young Knowell to renew his association with a group of young madcaps. Old Knowell, reading the letter and convinced that his son is up to no good, has his servant, Brainworm, deliver the letter to the youth in his study, with the directions not to reveal that the letter was opened. Contrary to orders, Brainworm tells his young master that old Knowell read the letter. The young man, delighted with the prospect of fun in the city, gives little thought to what his father might do.
Meanwhile, in the city, Matthew, an urban fool, calls on Captain Bobadill, a spurious cavalier who rooms in the low-class lodgings of Cob, a water carrier. Matthew, his taste questioned by Downright, a plain-spoken man, asks for and receives instructions in dueling from the braggart, swaggering Bobadill.
In his house nearby, Kitely, a merchant, discusses with Downright the dissolute ways of his brother-in-law, Wellbred, who rooms with the Kitelys. Wellbred becomes the...
(The entire section is 1260 words.)
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