2 Honest Whore – Act 3, Scene 1

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Enter ORLANDO and INFELICE.

 INFELICE
From whom, sayest thou?

ORLANDO
From a poor gentlewoman, madam, whom I serve.

INFELICE
And what’s your business?

ORLANDO
This madam: my poor mistress has a waste piece of ground which is her own by inheritance, and left to her by her mother.  There’s a lord now that goes about, not to take it clean from her, but to enclose it himself, and to join it to a piece of his lordship’s.

INFELICE
What would she have me do in this?

ORLANDO
No more, madam, but what one woman should do for another in such a case.  My honourable lord your husband would do anything in her behalf, but she had rather put herself into your hands, because you, a woman, may do more with the duke, your father.

INFELICE
Where lies this land?

ORLANDO
Within a stone’s cast of this place.  My mistress, I think, would be content to let him enjoy it after her decease, if that would serve his turn, so my master would yield to.  But she cannot abide to hear that the lord should meddle with in her lifetime.

INFELICE
Is she then married?  Why stirs not her husband in it?

ORLANDO
Her husband stirs in it under hand, but because the other is a great rich man, my master is loath to be seen in it too much.

INFELICE
Let her the writing draw the cause at large,
And I will move the duke.

ORLANDO
‘Tis set down, madam, here in black and white already.  Work it so, madam, that she may keep her own without disturbance, grievance, molestation, or meddling of any other, and she bestows this purse of gold on your ladyship.

INFELICE
Old man, I’ll plead for her, but take no fees.
Give lawyers them, I swim not in that flood.
I’ll touch no gold, till I have done her good.

ORLANDO
I would all proctors’ clerks were of your mind, I should law amongst them then I do then.  Here, madam, is the survey, not only of the manor itself, but of the grange house, with every meadow pasture, plough-land, cony-borough, fish-pond, hedge, ditch, and bush that stands in it.

INFELICE
My husband’s name and hand and seal at arms
To a love letter?  Where hadst thou this writing?

ORLANDO
From the foresaid party, madam, that would keep the foresaid land out of the foresaid lord’s fingers.

INFELICE
My lord turn’d ranger now?

ORLANDO
Y’are a good huntress, lady, you ha’ found your game already.  Your lord would fain be a ranger, but my mistress requests you to let him run a corse in your own park.  If you’ll not do’t for love, then do’t for money.  She has no white money, but there’s gold, or else she praises you to ring him by this token and so you shall be sure his nose will not be rooting other men’s pastures.

INFELICE
This very purse was woven with mine own hands.
This diamond on that very night, when he
Untied my virgin girdle, gave I him.
And must a common harlot share in mine?
Old man, to quit thy pains, take thou the gold.

ORLANDO
Not I, madam; old serving-men want no money.

INFELICE
Cupid himself was sure his secretary.
These lines are even the arrows love let flies
The very ink drop’d out of Venus’ eyes.

ORLANDO
I do not think, madam, but he fetch’d off some poet or other for those lines, for they are parlous hawks to fly at wenches.

INFELICE
Here’s honey’d poison, to me he ne’er thus writ
But lust can set a double edge on wit.

ORLANDO
Nay, that’s true, madam, a wench will whet any thing, if it be not too dull.

INFELICE
Oaths, promises, preferments, jewels, gold;
What snares should break, if all these cannot hold?
What creature is thy mistress?

ORLANDO
One of those creatures that are contrary to man; a woman.

INFELICE
What manner of woman?

ORLANDO
A little tiny woman, lower then your ladyship by head and shoulders, but as mad a wench as ever unlaced a petticoat.  These things should I indeed have delivered to my lord, your husband.

INFELICE
They are delivered better.  Why should she
Send back these things?

ORLANDO
‘Ware, ‘ware, there knavery.

INFELICE
Strumpets, like cheating gamesters, will not win
At first; these are but baits to draw him in.
How might I learn his hunting hours?

ORLANDO
The Irish footman can tell you all his hunting hours, the park he hunts in, the doe he would strike, the Irish shackatory beats the bush for him, and knows all.  He brought that letter and that ring.  He is the carrier.

INFELICE
Knowest thou what other gifts have pass’d between them?

ORLANDO
Like Saint Patrick knows all.

INFELICE
Him I’ll examine presently.

ORLANDO
Not whilst I am here, sweet madam.

INFELICE

Be gone then, and what lies in me command.                         [Exit ORLANDO.

 Enter BRYAN.

 INFELICE
Come hither, sirrah.  How much cost those satins
And cloth of silver, which my husband sent
By you to a low gentlewoman yonder?

BRYAN
Faat satins?  Faat silvers? Faat low gentlefolks?  Dow pratest dow knowest not what, i’faat, la.

INFELICE
She there, to whom you carried letters.

BRYAN
By dis hand and bod dow saist true, if I did so, oh how?
I know not a letter a de book i’faat, la.

INFELICE
Did your lord never send you with a ring, sir,
Set with a diamond?

BRYAN
Never sa Crees sa me, never.  He may run at a towsand rings, i’faat, and I never hold his stirrup till he leap into de saddle.  By Saint Patrick, madam, I never touch my lord’s diamond, nor ever had to do, i’faat, la, with any of his precious stones.

 Enter HIPPOLITO.

 INFELICE
Are you so close, you bawd, you pand’ring slave?

HIPPOLITO
How now?  Why, Infelice? What’s your quarrel?

INFELICE
Out of my sight, base varlot, get thee gone!

HIPPOLITO
Away, you rogue!

BRYAN
Slawne loot, [“Fare thee well”{?}] fare de well, fare de well!  Ah marragh frofat boddah breen. [“on the day after a feast a churl is fetid”{?}]       [Exit.

HIPPOLITO
What, grown a fighter?  Prithee, what’s the matter?

INFELICE
If you’ll needs know, it was about the clock.
How works the day, my lord, pray, by your watch?

HIPPOLITO
Lest you cuff me, I’ll tell you presently.
I am near two.

INFELICE
How two?  I am scarce at one.

HIPPOLITO
One of us then goes false.

INFELICE
Then sure, ‘tis you.
Mine goes by honest dial, the sun, and it goes true.

HIPPOLITO
I think, indeed, mine runs somewhat too fast.

INFELICE
Set it to mine, at one, then.

HIPPOLITO
One?  ‘Tis past,
‘Tis past one by the sun.

INFELICE
Faith then, belike
Neither your clock nor mine does truly strike,
And since it is uncertain which goes true
Better be false at one, then false at two.

HIPPOLITO
Y’are very pleasant, madam.

INFELICE
Yet not merry.

HIPPOLITO
Why, Infelice, what should make you sad?

INFELICE
Nothing, my lord, but my false watch, pray tell me.
You see, my clock, or yours, is out of frame,
Must we upon the workman lay the blame,
Or on our selves that keep them?

HIPPOLITO
Faith, on both.
He may by knavery spoil them, we by sloth.
But why talk you in riddle thus?  I read
Strange comments in those margins of your looks,
Your cheeks of late are, like bad printed books,
So dimly charactered, I scarce can spell
One line of love in them.  Sure, all’s not well.

INFELICE
All is not well indeed, my dearest lord.
Lock up thy gates of hearing, that no sound
Of what I speak may enter.

HIPPOLITO
What means this?

INFELICE
Or if my own tongue must myself betray,
Count it a dream, or turn thine eyes away,
And think me not thy wife.                                     [She kneels.

HIPPOLITO
Why do you kneel?

INFELICE
Earth is sin’s cushion.  When the sick soul feels
Herself growing poor, then she turns beggar, cries
And kneels for help.  Hippolito, for husband
I dare not call thee, I have stol’n that jewel
Of my chaste honour, which was only thine,
And given it to a slave.

HIPPOLITO
Hah?

INFELICE
On thy pillow
Adultery and lust have slept.  Thy groom
Hath climbed the unlawful tree, and pluck’t the sweets.
A villain hath usurped a husband’s sheets.

HIPPOLITO
S’death, who?  A cuckold!  Who?

INFELICE
The Irish footman.

HIPPOLITO
Worse than damnation!  A wild kern!  A frog!
A dog whom I’ll scarce spurn.  Longed you for shamrock?
Were it my father’s father, heart, I’ll kill him
Although I take him on his death-bed gasping
‘Twixt heaven and hell.  A shag-haired cur?  Bold strumpet,
Why hangest thou on me?  Thinkst I’ll be a bawd
To a whore, because she’s noble?

INFELICE
I beg but this:
Set not my shame out to the world’s broad eye.
Yet let thy vengeance, like my fault, soar high,
So it be in darkened clouds.

HIPPOLITO
Darkened!  My horns
Cannot be darkened, nor shall my revenge.
A harlot to my slave?  The act is base,
Common, but foul, so shall not thy disgrace.
Could not I feed your appetite?  Oh, women,
You were created angels, pure and fair,
But since the first fell, tempting devils you are.
You should be men’s bliss, but you prove their rods.
Were there no women, men might live like gods.
You ha’ been too much down already; rise,
Get from my sight, and henceforth shun my bed.
I’ll with no strumpets breath be poisoned.
As for your Irish lubrican, that spirit,
Whom by preposterous charms thy lust hath raised
In a wrong circle, him I’ll damn more black
Then any tyrant’s soul.

INFELICE
Hippolito!

HIPPOLITO
Tell me, didst thou bait hooks to draw him to thee,
Or did he bewitch thee?

INFELICE
The slave did woo me.

HIPPOLITO
Two woos in that screech owl’s language?
Oh, who would trust your cork-heel’d sex?  I think
To sate your lust, you would love a horse, a bear,
A croaking toad, so your hot itching veins
Might have their bound, then the wild Irish dart
Was thrown.  Come how?  The manner of this fight!

INFELICE
‘Twas thus: he gave me this battery first.  Oh, I
Mistake, believe me, all this in beaten gold.
Yet I held out, but at length by this was charm’d.
What?  Change your diamond wench, the act is base,
Common, but foul, so shall not your disgrace.
Could not I feed your appetite?  Oh, men,
You were created angels, pure and fair
But since the first fell, worse than devils you are.
You should our shields be, but you prove our rods.
Were there no men, women might live like gods.
Guilty, my lord?

HIPPOLITO
Yes, guilty, my good lady.

INFELICE
Nay, you may laugh, but henceforth shun my bed.
With no whore’s leavings I’ll be poisoned.                          [Exit.

HIPPOLITO
O’er-reach’d so finely?  ‘Tis the very diamond
And letter which I sent.  This villainy
Some spider closely weaves, whose poison’d bulk
I must let forth.  Who’s that without?

SERVANT
My lord calls!                                                                [Within.

HIPPOLITO
Send me the footman.

SERVANT
Call the footman to my lord.  Bryan, Bryan!

 Enter BRYAN.

HIPPOLITO
It can be no man else, that Irish Judas,
Bred in a country where no venom prospers
But in the nation’s blood, hath thus betray’d me.
Slave, get you from your service.

BRYAN
Faat meanest thou by this now?

HIPPOLITO
Question me not, not tempt my fury, villain.
Couldst thou turn all the mountains in the land
To hills of gold and give me, here thou stayest not.

BRYAN
I’faat, I care not.

HIPPOLITO
Prate not, but get thee gone, I shall send else.

BRYAN
Ay, do predy.  I had rather have thee make a scabbard of my guts and let out all de Irish puddings in my poor belly, den to be a false knave to de I faat.  I will never see dine own sweet face more.  A mawhid deer a gra, [“O master, O love!”] fare de well.  I will go steal cows again in Ireland.                                                    [Exit.

HIPPOLITO
He’s damn’d that rais’d this whirlwind, which hath blown
Into her eyes this jealousy.  Yet, I’ll on,
I’ll on, stood armed devil’s staring in my face
To be pursued in flight, quickens the race.
Shall my blood steams by a wive’s lust be bar’d?
Fond woman, no.  Iron grows by strokes more hard.
Lawless desires are seas scorning all bounds,
Or sulphur which being ram’d up, more confounds
Struggling with mad men, madness nothing tames;
Winds wrastling with great fires incense the flames.                              [Exit.

Proceed to the next scene

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