2 Honest Whore – Act 2, Scene 2

Return to previous scene

Enter CANDIDO, LODIVICO like a prentice.

LODOVICO
Come, come, come, what do ye lack, sir?  What do ye lack, sir? What is’t ye lack, sir?  Is not my worship well suited?  Did you ever see a gentleman better disguised?

CANDIDO
Never, believe me, signior.

LODOVICO
Yes, but when he has been drunk, there be prentices would make mad gallants, for they would spend all, and drink, and whore, and so forth; and I see why we gallants could make mad prentices.  How does thy wife like me?  Nay, I must not be so saucy, then I spoil all.  Pray you, how does my mistress like me?

CANDIDO
Well, for she takes you for a very simple fellow.

LODOVICO
And they that are taken for such are commonly the arrantest knaves.  But to our comedy, come.

CANDIDO
I shall no act it; chide you say, and fret
And grow impatient.  I shall never do’t.

LODOVICO
S’blood, cannot you do as all the world does?  Counterfeit.

CANDIDO

Were I a painter they should live by drawing

Nothing but pictures of an angry man.
I should not earn my colours.  I cannot do’t.

LODOVICO
Remember y’are a linen draper, and that if you give your wife a yard, she’ll take an ell.  Give her not therefore a quarter of your yard, not a nail.

CANDIDO
Say I should turn to ice, and nip her love
Now ‘tis but in the bud.

LODOVICO
Well, say she’s nipp’d.

CANDIDO
I will so overcharge her heart with grief
That like a cannon, when her sighs go off,
She in her duty either will recoil
Or break in pieces, and so die.  Her death
By my unkindness might be counted murder.

LODOVICO
Die?  Never, never.  I do not bid you beat her, nor give her black eyes, not pinch her sides, but cross her humours.  Are not bakers arms the scales of justice?  yet is not their bread light?  and may not you, I pray, bridle her with a sharp bit, yet ride her gently?

CANDIDO
Well, I will try your pills.
Do you your faithful service and be ready
Still at a pinch to help me in this part,
Or else I shall be out clean.

LODOVICO
Come, come, I’ll prompt you.

CANDIDO
I’ll call her forth now, shall I?

LODOVICO
Do, do, bravely.

CANDIDO
Luke, I pray, bid your mistress to come hither.

LODOVICO
Luke, I pray bid your mistress to come hither.

CANDIDO
Sirrah, bid my wife come to me.  Why, when?

FIRST PRENTICE

[Within.] Presently, sir, she comes.

LODOVICO
La you, there’s the echo, she comes.

Enter Bride.

BRIDE
What is your pleasure with me?

CANDIDO
Marry, wife,
I have intent, and, you see, this stripling here,
He bears good will and liking to my trade
And means to deal in London.

LODOVICO
Yes, indeed, sir, I would deal in linen, if my mistress like me so well as I like her.

CANDIDO
I hope to find him honest, pray, good wife,
Look that his bed and chamber be made ready.

BRIDE
Y’are best to let him hire me for his maid.
I look to his bed?  Look to’t your self.

CANDIDO
Even so?
I swear to you a great oath—

LODOVICO
Swear, cry zounds!

CANDIDO
I will not, go to wife, I will not—

LODOVICO
That your great oath?

CANDIDO
Swallow these gudgeons

LODOVICO
Well said.

BRIDE
Then fast then, you may choose.

CANDIDO
You know at table
What tricks you play’d, swaggered, broke glasses!  Fie

Fie, fie, fie!  And now before my prentice here
You make an ass of me.  Thou, what shall I call thee?

BRIDE
Even what you will.

LODOVICO
Call her arrant whore.

CANDIDO
Oh fie!  By no means, then she’ll call me cuckold.
Sirrah, go look to th’ shop.  How does this show?

LODOVICO
Excellent well.  I’ll go look to the shop, sir.  Fine cambrics, lawns, what do you lack?

[Exit LODOVICO into the shop.

CANDIDO
A curst cow’s milk I ha’ drunk once before
And ‘twas so tank in taste, I’ll drink no more.
Wife, I’ll tame you.

BRIDE
You may, sir, if you can,
But at a wrestling I have seen a fellow
Limb’d like an ox, thrown by a little man.

CANDIDO
And so you’ll throw me.  Reach me, knaves, a yard!

Enter LODOVICO with a yard, and Prentices.

LODOVICO
A yard for my master.

FIRST PRENTICE
My master is grown valiant.

CANDIDO
I’ll teach you fencing tricks.

OMNES
Rare, rare, a prize!

LODOVICO
What will you do, sir?

CANDIDO
Marry, my good prentice, nothing but breathe my wife.

BRIDE
Breathe me with your yard?
LODOVICO
No, he’ll but measure you out, forsooth.

BRIDE
Since you’ll needs fence, handle you weapon well,
For if you take a yard, I’ll take an ell.
Reach me an ell.

LODOVICO
An ell for my mistress!

Enter one with an ell.

Keep the laws of the noble science, sir, and measure weapons with her.  Your yard is a plain heathenish weapon, ‘tis too short.  She may give you a handful, and yet you’ll not reach her.

CANDIDO
Yet I ha’ the longer arm.  Come fall to’t roundly,
And spare not me, wife, for I’ll lay’t on soundly.
If o’er husbands their wives will needs me masters,
We men will have a law to win’t at wasters.

LODOVICO
‘Tis for the breeches, is’t not?

CANDIDO
For the breeches.

BRIDE
Husband, I am for you.  I’ll not strike in jest.

CANDIDO
Nor I.

BRIDE
But will you sign to one request?

CANDIDO
What’s that?

BRIDE
Let me give the first blow.

CANDIDO
The first blow, wife, shall I?  Prompt?

LODOVICO
Let her ha’t.
If she strike hard, in to her, and break her pate.

CANDIDO
A bargain.  Strike!

BRIDE
Then guard you from this blow.
For I play all at legs, but ‘tis thus low.                         [Kneels.
Behold, I am such a cunning fencer grown
I keep my ground, yet down I will be thrown
With the least blow you give me.  I disdain
The wife that is her husband’s sovereign.
She that upon your pillow first did rest,
They say, the breeches wore, which I detest.
The tax which she imposed upon you, I abate you.
If me you make your master, I shall hate you.
The world shall judge who offers fairest play.
You win the breeches, but I win the day.

CANDIDO
Thou win’st the day indeed.  Give me thy hand.
I’ll challenge thee no more.  My patient breast
Play’d thus the rebel, only for a jest.
Here’s the rank rider that breaks colts.  ‘Tis he
Can tame the mad folks, and curst wives.

BRIDE
Who, your man?

CANDIDO
My man?  My master, though his head be bare.
But he’s so courteous, he’ll put off his hair.

LODOVICO
Nay, if your service be so hot, a man cannot keep his hair on.  I’ll serve you no longer.

BRIDE
Is this your schoolmaster?

LODOVICO
Yes, faith, wench, I taught him to take thee down.  I hope thou can’st take him down without teaching.  You ha’ got the conquest, and you both are friends.

CANDIDO
Bear witness else.

LODOVICO
My prenticeship thus ends.

CANDIDO
For the good service you to me have done,
I give you all your years.

LODOVICO
I thank you, master.
I’ll kiss my mistress now, that she may say,

My man was bound, and free all in one day.                [Exeunt.

 

Proceed to the next scene

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