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ACT ONE, SCENE THREE
The Common Man appears and puts on the coat and hat of Boatman.
Sir Thomas More flags down the boatman to take him home.
From hiding Cromwell appears and asks if the boatman has a license. The boatman has a license. Cromwell appears to be surprised to see More. He is on his way to the Cardinal. He asks More if he left the Cardinal in a good mood. Cromwell is sorry to learn that the Cardinal is not in a good mood. They part.
More and the boatman are heading toward the boat when they meet Chapuys and his attendant. To More’s comment about Signor Chapuys being up late, he responds that the Cardinal is also up late.
Chapuys knows that More has been to see Wolsey and tells him that his master is Charles, King of Spain. Chapuys says that anything that concerns Charles’ relatives concerns Charles. This includes Henry’s queen, Catherine, who is his aunt. An insult to Catherine would be considered an insult to Charles. More says that would be a natural response.
Chapuys is eager to find out what, if anything was decided when More met with the Cardinal. More says that they parted amicably.
Chapuys leaves. More asks the boatman if the river is silting up ashe has heard. The boatman replies that a channel in the middle is getting deeper all the time.
The boatman takes More home. The boatman complains that going one way the trip is more difficult than going the other way, but the fare is the same.
The Common Man, complete with a change of clothes and an oar, is back. This time his title is Boatman. He is similar to some common men in our time, complaining about his income and his wife.
There is another reference to water in this scene with mention of a deep channel in the middle of the river.