The Weakest Goeth to the Wall – Scene 17

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Enter SIR NICHOLAS with a letter, ODILLIA with a letter in her hand, BUNCH and NUNTIO.

 SIR NICHOLAS
And must we then, fair lady, forgo your sweet company?

 ODILLIA
You see my Lord of Bullen sends for me;
With him remains my husband, Ferdinand;
So you perceive how much it me concerns,
To leave this place to better my estate.

 SIR NICHOLAS
I cannot blame a fair lady, to leave a bad thing to go to a better.  My friend, thank the Duke of Bullen, my quondam sexton, for his kind letter.  I may say, that ne’er a priest in Picardy can say beside that I have had a duke to my sexton, be it spoken without pride.

 BUNCH
The devil ye ha’!  Was he not my petticessor, I pray ye?  I was his ‘quaintance afore he knew you, friend.  Do my condemnations to him; one Bunch that botch’d in his city, ran away in his company, and dwelt where he dwelt, with Dutch Yacob Smelt.  And for my better grace, ye may say Barnaby Bunch, that has his sexton’s place.  [Aside to NUNTIO.] Hark ye, friend, you have brought no diseases with ye, have ye?

 NUNTIO
Why dost thou ask so fond a question?

 BUNCH
Marry, I speak to him when he went, to send the plague or the pox or some disease of High France down into this low country, to lay the men of Ards low that I may have money for their graves, and marry one of their wives.  If ye have any ‘firmity about ye, as the stone or the dropsy, the pip or the palsy, I’ll give ye as much for it as another to have it left in our parish.

 ODILLIA
Will ye not write, Sir Nicholas, to the Duke?

 SIR NICHOLAS
To tell ye true, lady, a letter of six lines is three days work for me.  The Duke knows my mind as well as if I did write; if he have a better benefice or two for me, tell him I will come.

 BUNCH
Then we come, both the vicar and the sexton.

 ODILLIA
Why, Bunch, I thought you would have gone with me.

 BUNCH
Truly, not thus advis’d:  if ye had no husband, so; but having a  husband, no.  I can be but well, and the hardest of my learning is past.  I can say, ‘amen,’ without book, chime two bells at once, whip a dog with both hands, know the difference of the strokes in tolling for men and women, grease the bellropes, turn the clappers, sweep the church, help the vicar on with his surplice.  All this I know by rote, ye may tell the duke, as if I had been bound prentice to the trade; and for making a grave, come all Picardy for the price of my pickaxe.

 ODILLIA
We stay too long.  Sir Nicholas, farewell, and farewell, Bunch.

[Exeunt ODILLIA and NUNTIO.

 BUNCH
Heartily to you.  Prey ye, condemn me to your husband, master Farting Andrew.

 SIR NICHOLAS
Ferdinando, Bunch.  Thou mistermst his name.

 BUNCH
So have you done many a one in ths first lesson, God forgive ye.

 SIR NICHOLAS
Let that pass amongst the rest of my venial sins.  And tell me, Bunch, tell me, where’s the best liquor?

 BUNCH
At the Green Dragon, gentle master vicar.

 SIR NICHOLAS
Will the dragon sting?

 BUNCH
From the head to the heel,
He will sting you brain so,
That he’ll make your feet reel.

 SIR NICHOLAS
Let’s go play for two pots.  Away, Bunch, away!

 BUNCH
Then the parish is like to have no service to-day.                                                        [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene

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