2 Honest Whore – Act 2, Scene 1

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Enter BELLAFRONT and MATHEO.

 BELLAFRONT
Oh, my sweet husband, wert thou in thy grave.
And art alive again?  Oh, welcome, welcome.

MATHEO
Dost know me?  My cloak prithee lay’t up.  Yes, faith, my winding sheet was taken out of lavender, to be stuck with rosemary.  I lack’d but the knot here, or here, yet if I had had it, I should ha’ made a wry mouth at the world like a plaice.  But, sweetest villain, I am here now, and I will talk with thee soon.

BELLAFRONT
And glad am I th’art here.

MATHEO
Did these heels caper in shackles?  Ay, my little plump rogue, I’ll bear thee up for all this, and fly high.  Catzo, catzo.

BELLAFRONT
Matheo?

MATHEO
What sayest, what sayest?  Oh, brave fresh air, a pox on these grates and gingling of keys and rattling of iron.  I’ll bear up, I’ll fly high, wench.  Hang?  Toss!

BELLAFRONT
Matheo, prithee make thy prison thy glass
And in it view the wrinkles, and the scars
By which thou wert disfigured, viewing them, mend them.

MATHEO
I’ll go visit all the mad rogues now, and the good roaring boys.

BELLAFRONT
Thou dost not hear me?

MATHEO
Yes, faith, do I.

BELLAFRONT
Thou has been in the hands of misery
And ta’en strong physic.  Prithee now, be sound.

MATHEO
Yes.  S’foot, I wonder how the inside of a tavern looks now.  Oh, when shall I bizzle bizzle?

BELLAFRONT
Nay see, th’art thirsty still for poison, come,
I will not have thee swagger.

MATHEO
Honest ape’s face!

BELLAFRONT
‘Tis that sharpened an axe to cut thy throat.
Good love, I would not have thee sell thy substance
And time, worth all, in those damned shops of hell.
Those dicing horses, that stand never well
But when they stand most ill, that four-squared sin
Has almost lodg’d in the beggar’s inn.
Besides, to speak which even my soul does grieve,
A sort of raven’s have hung upon thy sleeve,
And fed upon thee.  Good Mat, if you please,
Scorn to spread wing among so base as these.
By them thy fame is speckled, yet it shows
Clear amongst them, so crows are fair with crows.
Custom in sin, gives sin a lovely day.
Blackness in Moors is no deformity.

MATHEO
Bellafront, Bellafront, I protest to thee, as I hope for my soul, I will turn over a new leaf.  The prison I confess has bit me.  The best man that sails in such a ship may by lousy.                                                        [Knocking within.

BELLAFRONT
One knocks at door.

MATHEO
I’ll be the porter.  They shall see a jail cannot hold a brave spirit.  I’ll fly high.                                                                                        [Exit.

BELLAFRONT
How wild is his behaviour!  Oh, I fear
He’s spoil’d by prison; he’s half damned comes there.
But I must sit all storms.  When a full sail
His fortunes spread he loved me.  Being now poor,
I’ll beg for him, and no wife can do more.

 Enter MATHEO, and ORLANDO like a Servingman.

 MATHEO
Come in pray.  Would you speak with me, sir?

ORLANDO
Is your name Signior Matheo?

MATHEO
My name is Signior Matheo.

ORLANDO
Is this gentlewoman your wife, sir?

MATHEO
This gentlewoman is my wife, sir.

ORLANDO
The destinies spin a strong and even thread of both your loves. [Aside.] The mother’s own face.  I ha’ not forgotten that. [To them.]  I’m an old man, sir, and as troubled with a whoreson salt rheum, that I cannot hold my water.  Gentlewoman, the last man I served was your father.

BELLAFRONT
My father?  Any tongue that sounds his name
Speaks music to me.  Welcome, good old man.
How does my father?  Lives he?  Has he health?
How does my father? [Aside.] I so much do shame him,
So much do wound him, that I scarce dare name him.

ORLANDO
I can speak no more.

MATHEO
How now, old lad, why dost cry?

ORLANDO
The rheum still, sir, nothing else.  I should be well season’d, for mine eyes lie in brine.  Look you, sir, I have a suit to you.

MATHEO
What is’t, my little white pate?

ORLANDO
Troth, sir, I have a mind to serve your worship.

MATHEO
To serve me?  Troth, my friend, my fortunes are, as a man might say—

ORLANDO
Nay, look you, sir, I know when all sins are old in us, and go upon crutches, that covetousness does but then lie in her cradle.  ‘Tis not so with me.  Lechery loves to dwell in the fairest lodging, and covetousness in the oldest buildings, that are ready to fall.  But my white head, sir, is no inn for such a gossip.  If a servingman at my years be not stored with biscuit enough, that has sailed around the world, to serve him the voyage out, of his life, and to bring him East home, ill pity but his days should be fasting days.  I care not so much for wages, for I have scraped a handful of gold together.  I have a little money, sir, which I would put into your worship’s hands, not so much to make it more—

MATHEO
No, no, you say well, thou sayest well.  But I must tell you—how much is the money, sayest thou?

ORLANDO
About twenty pound, sir.

MATHEO
Twenty pound?  Let me see.  That shall bring thee in, after ten per centum per annum.

ORLANDO
No, no, no, sir, no.  I cannot abide to have money engender.  Fie upon this silver lechery, fie!  If I may have meat to my mouth, and rags to my back, and a flock-bed to snort upon when I die, the longer liver take all.

MATHEO
A good old boy, I’faith.  If thou servest me, thou shalt eat as I eat, drink as I drink, lie as I lie, and ride as I ride.

ORLANDO
[Aside.] That’s if you have money to hire horses.

MATHEO
Front, what dost thou think on’t?  This good old lad here shall serve me.

BELLAFRONT
Alas, Matheo, wilt thou load a back
That is already broke?

MATHEO
Peace, pox on you, peace!  There’s a trick in’t.  I fly high, it shall be so, Front, as I tell you.  Give me thy hand.  Thou shalt serve me i’faith.  Welcome. As for your money—

ORLANDO
Nay, look you, sir, I have it here.

MATHEO
Pesh, keep it safe, man, and then th’art sure ‘tis safe.

ORLANDO
Safe!  And ‘twere ten thousand ducats your worship should be my cash- keeper.  I have heard what your worship is. [Aside.] An excellent dunghill cock, to scatter all abroad, but I’ll venture twenty pounds on’s head.

MATHEO
And didst thou serve my worshipful father-in-law, Signior Orlando Friscobaldo, that mad man once?

ORLANDO
I served him so long, till he turned me out of doors.

MATHEO
It’s a notable chuff.  I ha’ not seen him many a day.

ORLANDO
No matter and you ne’er see him.  It’s an arrant grandy, a churl, and as damn’d a cut-throat.

BELLAFRONT
Thou villain, curb thy tongue!  Thou are a Judas
To sell thy master’s name to slander thus.

MATHEO
Away, ass!  He speaks but truth.  Thy father is a —

BELLAFRONT
Gentleman.

MATHEO
And an old knave.  There’s more deceit in him then in sixteen ‘pothecaries. It’s a devil, thou mayst beg, starve, hand, damn, does he send thee so much as a cheese?

ORLANDO
Or so much as a gammon of bacon.  He’ll give it his dogs first.

MATHEO
A jail, a jail!

ORLANDO
A Jew, a Jew, sir.

MATHEO
A dog!

ORLANDO
An English mastiff, sir.

MATHEO
Pox rot out his old stinking garbage!

BELLAFRONT
Art not ashamed to strike an absent man thus?
Art not ashamed to let this vile dog bark
And bite my father thus?  I’ll not endure it.
Out of my doors, base slave!

MATHEO
Your doors!  A vengeance?  I shall live to cut that old rogue’s throat, for all you take his part thus

ORLANDO
[Aside.] He shall live to see thee hang’d first.

Enter HIPPOLITO.

MATHEO
God’s so, my lord, your lordship is most welcome.
I’m proud of this, my lord.

HIPPOLITO
Was bold to see you.
Is that your wife?

MATHEO
Yes, sir.

HIPPOLITO
I’ll borrow her lip.

MATHEO

With all my heart, my lord.

ORLANDO
Who’s this, I pray?

MATHEO
My Lord Hippolito.  What’s thy name?

ORLANDO
Pacheco.

MATHEO
Pacheco, fine name.  Thou seest, Pacheco, I keep company with no scoundrels, nor base fellows.

HIPPOLITO
Came not my footman to you?

BELLAFRONT
Yes, my lord.

HIPPOLITO
I sent by him a diamond and a letter.
Did you receive them?

BELLAFRONT
Yes, my lord, I did.

HIPPOLITO
Read you the letter?

BELLAFRONT
O’er and o’er ‘tis read.

HIPPOLITO
And faith your answer?

BELLAFRONT
Now, the time’s not fit.
You see, my husband’s here.

HIPPOLITO
I’ll now then leave you
And choose mine hour, but ere I part away,
Hark you, remember I must have no nay.
Matheo, I will leave you.

MATHEO
A glass of wine.

HIPPOLITO
Not now.  I’ll visit you at other times.
Y’are come off well then?

MATHEO
Excellent well, I thank your lordship.  I owe you my life, my lord, and will pay my best blood in any service of yours.

HIPPOLITO
I’ll take no such dear payment.  Hark you, Matheo.
I know the prison is a gulf.  If money
Run low with you, my purse is yours.  Call for it.

MATHEO
Faith, my lord, I thank my stars, they send me down some.  I cannot sink, so long as these bladders hold.

HIPPOLITO
I will not see your fortunes ebb.  Pray try.
To starve in full barns were fond modesty.

MATHEO
Open the door, sirrah.

HIPPOLITO
Drink this,
And anon, I pray thee, give thy mistress this.                                       [Exit.

ORLANDO
O noble spirit!  If no worse guests here dwell,
My blue coat sits on my old shoulders well.

MATHEO
The only royal fellow, he’s bounteous as the Indies.  What’s that he said to thee, Bellafront?

BELLAFRONT
Nothing.

MATHEO
I prithee, good girl?

BELLAFRONT
Why, I tell you, nothing.

MATHEO
Nothing?  It’s well.  Tricks, that I must be beholden to a scald hot-liver’d goatish gallant, to stand with my cap in my hand and vail bonnet when I ha’ spread as lofty sails as himself.  Would I had been hanged!  Nothing?  Pacheco, brush my cloak.

ORLANDO
Where is’t, sir?

MATHEO
Come, we’ll fly high.
Nothing?  There is a whore still in thine eye.                                                 [Exit.

ORLANDO
My twenty pounds flies high.  O wretched woman,
This varlet’s able to make Lucrece common.
How not, mistress?  Has my master dyed you into this sad colour?

BELLAFRONT
Fellow, be gone, I pray thee.  If thy tongue
Itch after talk so much, seek out thy master.
Th’art a fit instrument for him.

ORLANDO
Zounds, I hope he will not play upon me!

BELLAFRONT
Play on thee?  No, you two will fly together
Because you are roving arrows of one feather.
Would thou wouldst leave my house, thou ne’er shalt please me.
Weave thy nets ne’er so high.
Thou shalt be a spider in mine eye.
Th’art rank with poison, poison temper’d well
Is food for health.  But thy black tongue doth swell
With venom, to hurt him that gave thee bread.
To wrong men absent is to spurn the dead.
And so didst thou my master and my father.

ORLANDO
You have small reason to take his part, for I have heard him say five hundred times you were as arrant a whore as ever stiffened tiffany neckcloths in water-starch upon a Saturday i’th’ afternoon.

BELLAFRONT
Let him say worse, when for the earth’s offence
Hot vengeance through the marble clouds is driven,
Is’t fit earth shoot again those darts at heaven?

ORLANDO
And so if your father call you a whore, you’ll not call him old knave. [Aside.] Friscobaldo, she carries thy mind up and down.  She’s thine own flesh and blood, and bone. [To her.] Troth, mistress, to tell you true, the fireworks that ran from my upon lines against my good old master, your father, were but to try how my young master, your husband, loved such squibs. But it’s well known, I love your father as myself.  I’ll ride for him at mid-night, run for you by owl-light.  I’ll die for him, drudge for you.  I’ll fly low, and I’ll fly high, asmy master says, to do you good, if you’ll forgive me.

BELLAFRONT
I am not made of marble.  I forgive thee.

ORLANDO
Nay, if you were made of marble, a good stone-cutter might cut you.  I hope the twenty pound I delivered to my master is in a sure hand.

BELLAFRONT

In a sure hand, I warrant thee, for spending.

ORLANDO
I see my young master is a madcap, and a bonus socius.  I love him well, mistress.  Yet as well as I love him, I’ll not play the knave with you.  Look you, I could cheat you of this purse full of money, but I am an old lad, and I scorn to cony-catch. Yet I ha’ been dog at a cony in my time.

BELLAFRONT
A purse?  Where hadst it?

ORLANDO
The gentleman that went away whisper’d in mine ear, and charged me to give it you.

BELLAFRONT
The Lord Hippolito?

ORLANDO
Yes, if he be a lord, he gave it thee.

BELLAFRONT
‘Tis all gold.

ORLANDO
‘Tis like so.  It may be.  He thinks you want money, and therefore bestows his alms bravely, like a lord.

BELLAFRONT
He thinks a silver net can catch the poor.
Here’s bait to catch a nun, and turn her whore.
Wilt thou be honest to me?

ORLANDO
As your nails to your fingers, which I think never deceived you.

BELLAFRONT
Thou to this lord shalt go, commend me to him,
And tell him this: the town has held out long
Because, within, ‘twas rather true then strong.
To sell it now were base.  Say ‘tis no hold
Built of weak stuff, to be blown up with gold.
He shall believe thee by this token, or this.
If not, by this.                                                             [Gives purse, rings, letters.

ORLANDO
Is this all?

BELLAFRONT
This is all.

ORLANDO
[Aside.] Mine own girl still.

BELLAFRONT
A star may shoot, not fall.                                                   [Exit BELLAFRONT.

ORLANDO
A star?  Nay, thou art more than the moon, for thou hast neither changing quarters, no a man standing in thy circle with a bush of thorns.  Is’t possible the Lord Hippolito, whose face is as civil as the outside of a dedicatory book, should be a mutton-monger?  A poor man has but one ewe, and this grandy sheep-biter leaves whole flocks of fat weather, whom he may knock down, to devour this.  I’ll trust neither lord nor butcher with quick flesh for this trick.  The cuckoo, I see now, sings all the year, though every man cannot hear him, but I’ll spoil his notes.  Can neither love-letters not the duke’s common pick-locks, gold, not precious stones make my girl draw up her percullis?  Hold out still, wench.
All are not bawds, I see now, that keep doors,
Nor all good wenches that are mark’d for whores.                               [Exit.

Proceed to next scene

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