Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
Rose Otley, daughter of the Lord Mayor of London, Sir Roger Otley, and Rowland Lacey, nephew to Sir Hugh Lacy, the earl of Lincoln, are deeply in love. With evident irony, proud Sir Roger declares to Sir Hugh that he cannot presume to have his daughter marry above her station. With equal pride, Sir Hugh ironically counters that because of Rowland’s dissolute ways it would be far better for Rose to marry a substantial young London businessman. Rowland, who toured Europe and learned the shoemaker’s trade in Germany, is given a command in the army of King Henry V, who is preparing to invade France. Sir Hugh wants Rowland off to France as soon as possible, so that the youth might forget Rose.
Rowland has other ideas. Claiming pressing business in London, he turns his command over to his cousin, Askew, after promising that he will join his unit in Normandy, if not in Dover. When the troops assemble to leave London, Simon Eyre, a shoemaker, pleads to no avail with Rowland to allow Rafe Damport, his drafted journeyman, to stay home with his new bride, Jane. Rafe, resigned to going to the wars, gives Jane as a farewell gift, a pair of shoes that he made for her.
Meanwhile Rose, confined to her father’s house at Old Ford, a London suburb, sends her maid Sybil into the city to seek information about Rowland. Determined to win Rose, Rowland disguises himself as a German shoemaker. Singing a German drinking song, he seeks work at Simon’s shop....
(The entire section is 1094 words.)
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