1 Honest Whore – Act One, Scene Five

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Enter VIOLA, GEORGE, and three Prentices in the shop.

VIOLA
Come, you put up your wares in good order here, do you not think you? One piece cast this way, another that way? You had need have a patient master indeed.

GEORGE
[Aside.] Ay, I’ll be sworn, for we have a curs’d mistress.

VIOLA
You mumble. Do you mumble? I would your master or I could be a note more angry, for two patient folks in a house spoil all the servants that ever shall come under them.

FIRST PRENTICE
[Aside.] You patient! Ay, so is the devil when he is horn-mad.

Enter CASTRUCHIO, FLUELLO and PIORATTO.

THREE PRENTICES
Gentlemen, what do you lack? What is’t you buy? See fine hollands, fine cambrics, fine lawns.

GEORGE
What is’t you lack?

SECOND PRENTICE
What is’t you buy?

CASTRUCHIO
Where’s Signior Candido thy master?

GEORGE
Faith, signior, he’s a little negotiated; he’ll appear presently.

CASTRUCHIO
Fellow, let’s see a lawn, a choice one, sirrah.

GEORGE
The best in all Milan, gentlemen, and this is the piece. I can fit you gentlemen with fine calicoes too for doublets, the only sweet fashion now, most delicate and courtly, a meek gentle calico, cut upon two double affable taffetas, ah, most neat, feat, and unmatchable!

FLUELLO
[Aside to PIORATTO.] A notable, voluble-tongu’d villain!

PIORATTO
[Aside to FLUELLO.] I warrant this fellow was never begot without much prating.

CASTRUCHIO
What, and is this she, sayst thou?

GEORGE
Ay, and the purest she that ever you finger’d since you were a gentleman: look how even she is, look how clean she is, ha, as even as the brow of Cynthia, and as clean as your sons and heirs when they ha’ spent all!

CASTRUCHIO
Puh, thou talk’st! Pox on’t, ’tis rough!

GEORGE
How! Is she rough? But if you bid pox on’t, sir, ’twill take away the roughness presently.

FLUELLO
Ha, signior! Has he fitted your French curse?

GEORGE
Look you, gentleman, here’s another; compare them I pray, compara Virgilium cum Homero, compare virgins with harlots.

CASTRUCHIO
Puh, I ha’ seen better, and as you term them, evener and cleaner.

GEORGE
You may see further for your mind, but trust me you shall not find better for your body.

Enter CANDIDO.

CASTRUCHIO
[Aside to FLELLO and PIRATTO.] Oh, here he comes! Let’s make as though we pass.—Come, come, we’ll try in some other shop.

CANDIDO
How now? What’s the matter?

GEORGE
The gentlemen find fault with this lawn, fall out with it, and without a cause too.

CANDIDO
Without a cause!
And that makes you to let ’em pass away?
Ah, may I crave a word with you gentlemen?

FLUELLO
[Aside to CASTRUCHIO.] He calls us.

CASTRUCHIO
[Aside to FLELLO.] Makes the better for the jest.

CANDIDO
I pray come near, y’are very welcome, gallants;
Pray pardon my man’s rudeness, for I fear me
H’as talk’d above a prentice with you. Lawns?
Look you, kind gentlemen. This? No. Ay, this:
Take this upon my honest-dealing faith
To be a true weave, not too hard, nor slack,
But e’en as far from falsehood as from black.

CASTRUCHIO
Well, how do you rate it?

CANDIDO
Very conscionably: eighteen shillings a yard.

CASTRUCHIO
That’s too dear. How many yards does the whole piece contain, think you?

CANDIDO
Why, some seventeen yards I think, or thereabouts.
How much would serve your turn, I pray?

CASTRUCHIO
Why, let me see. Would it were better too.

CANDIDO
Truth, ’tis the best in Milan at few words.

CASTRUCHIO
Well, let me have then—a whole pennyworth.

CANDIDO
Ha, ha! Y’are a merry gentleman.

CASTRUCHIO
A penn’orth I say.

CANDIDO
Of lawn!

CASTRUCHIO
Of lawn? Ay, of lawn, a penn’orth. ‘Sblood, dost not hear? A whole penn’orth! Are you deaf?

CANDIDO
Deaf? No, sir, but I must tell you,
Our wares do seldom meet such customers.

CASTRUCHIO
Nay, and you and your lawns be so squeamish, fare you well.

CANDIDO
Pray stay, a word, pray, signior. For what purpose is it I beseech you?

CASTRUCHIO
‘Sblood, what’s that to you? I’ll have a pennyworth.

CANDIDO
A pennyworth! Why, you shall. I’ll serve you presently.

SECOND PRENTICE
‘Sfoot, a pennyworth, mistress!

VIOLA
A pennyworth! Call you these gentlemen?

CASTRUCHIO
[To CANDIDO, who is beginning to cut] No, no: not there.

CANDIDO
What then, kind gentleman? What, at this corner here?

CASTRUCHIO
Nor there neither.
I’ll have it just in the middle, or else not.

CANDIDO
Just in the middle? Ha! You shall too. What?
Have you a single penny?

CASTRUCHIO
Yes, here’s one.

CANDIDO
Lend it me I pray.

FLUELLO
[Aside.] An ex’lent followed jest.

VIOLA
What, will he spoil the lawn now?

CANDIDO
Patience, good wife.

VIOLA
Ay, that patience makes a fool of you. Gentlemen, you might ha’ found some other citizen to have made a kind gull on besides my husband.

CANDIDO
Pray, gentlemen, take her to be a woman;
Do not regard her language. Oh, kind soul,
Such words will drive away my customers.

VIOLA
Customers with a murrain! Call you these customers?

CANDIDO
Patience, good wife.

VIOLA
Pax a’ your patience!

GEORGE
‘Sfoot, mistress, I warrant these are some cheating companions!

CANDIDO
Look you, gentleman, there’s your ware; I thank you.
I have your money here; pray know my shop,
Pray let me have your custom.

VIOLA
Custom, quoth ‘a!

CANDIDO
Let me take more of your money.

VIOLA
You had need so.

PIORATTO
[Taking CASTRUCHIO aside] Hark in thine ear: t’hast lost an hundred ducats.

CASTRUCHIO
Well, well, I know’t. Is’t possible that homo
Should be nor man nor woman, not once mov’d?
No, not at such an injury, not at all!
Sure he’s a pigeon, for he has no gall.

FLUELLO
Come, come, y’are angry though you smother it.
Y’are vex’d, i’faith, confess.

CANDIDO
Why, gentlemen,
Should you conceit me to be vex’d or mov’d?
He has my ware, I have his money for’t,
And that’s no argument I am angry. No,
The best logician cannot prove me so.

FLUELLO
Oh, but the hateful name of a pennyworth of lawn,
And then cut out i’th’middle of the piece!
[Aside] Pah, I guess it by myself, would move a lamb
Were he a linen-draper, ‘twould, i’faith!

CANDIDO
Well, give me leave to answer you for that:
We are set here to please all customers,
Their humours and their fancies, offend none;
We get by many, if we leese by one.
Maybe his mind stood to no more than that;
A pen’worth serves him, and ‘mongst trades ’tis found,
Deny a penn’orth, it may cross a pound.
Oh, he that means to thrive with patient eye
Must please the devil if he come to buy!

FLUELLO
Oh, wondrous man, patient ‘bove wrong or woe,
How bless’d were men if women could be so!

CANDIDO
And to express how well my breast is pleas’d
And satisfied in all: George, fill a beaker.                                  [Exit GEORGE.
I’ll drink unto that gentleman who lately
Bestowed his money with me.

VIOLA
God’s my life,
We shall have all our gains drunk out in beakers
To make amends for pennyworths of lawn!

Enter GEORGE.

CANDIDO
Here, wife, begin you to the gentleman.

VIOLA
I begin to him? [Throws down the beaker.]

CANDIDO
George, fill ‘t up again:
‘Twas my fault, my hand shook.                                                   [Exit GEORGE.

PIORATTO
[Aside] How strangely this doth show!
A patient man link’d with a waspish shrow.

FLUELLO
[Taking CASTRUCHIO aside.] A silver and gilt beaker! I have a trick
To work upon that beaker: sure ’twill fret him;
It cannot choose but vex him. Signior Castruchio,
In pity to thee, I have a conceit
Will save thy hundred ducats yet; ’twill do’t,
And work him to impatience.

CASTRUCHIO
Sweet Fluello,
I should be bountiful to that conceit.

FLUELLO
Well ’tis enough.

Enter GEORGE.

CANDIDO
Here, gentleman to you:
I wish your custom; y’are exceeding welcome.

CASTRUCHIO
I pledge you, Signior Candido.
[Aside to PIORATTO.] Here to you, that must receive a hundred ducats.

PIORATTO
[Aside to CASTRUCHIO.] I’ll pledge them deep, i’faith, Castruchio.—
Signior Fluello?

FLUELLO
Come, play ‘t off to me;
I am your last man.

CANDIDO
George, supply the cup.

FLUELLO
So, so, good honest George.
Here, Signior Candido, all this to you.

CANDIDO
Oh, you must pardon me, I use it not.

FLUELLO
Will you not pledge me then?

CANDIDO
Yes, but not that:
Great love is shown in little.

FLUELLO
Blurt on your sentences!
‘Sfoot, you shall pledge me all!

CANDIDO
Indeed I shall not.

FLUELLO
Not pledge me? ‘Sblood, I’ll carry away the beaker then!

CANDIDO
The beaker! Oh, that at your pleasure, sir.

FLUELLO
Now, by this drink, I will.

CASTRUCHIO
Pledge him, he’ll do’t else.

FLUELLO
So, I ha’ done you right, on my thumbnail.
What, will you pledge me now?

CANDIDO
You know me, sir:
I am not of that sin.

FLUELLO
Why then, farewell;
I’ll bear away the beaker, by this light.

CANDIDO
That’s as you please; ’tis very good.

FLUELLO
Nay, it doth please me, and as you say, ’tis a very good one.
Farewell, Signior Candido.

PIORATTO
Farewell, Candido.

CANDIDO
Y’are welcome, gentlemen.

CASTRUCHIO
[Aside.] Heart, not mov’d yet?
I think his patience is above our wit!

[Exeunt CASTRUCHIO, FLUELLO, and PIORATTO.

GEORGE
I told you before, mistress, they were all cheaters.

VIOLA
Why, fool! Why, husband! Why, madman! I hope you will not let ’em sneak away so with a silver and gilt beaker, the best in the house too. [To Prentices.] Go, fellows, make hue and cry after them.

CANDIDO
Pray, let your tongue lie still, all will be well.
Come hither, George; hie to the constable,
And in calm order wish him to attach them:
Make no great stir, because they’re gentlemen,
And a thing partly done in merriment;
‘Tis but a size above a jest, thou know’st,
Therefore pursue it mildly. Go, be gone;
The constable’s hard by, bring him along.
Make haste again.                                                                        [Exit GEORGE.

VIOLA
Oh, y’are a goodly patient woodcock, are you not now? See what your patience comes too! Everyone saddles you and rides you, you’ll be shortly the common stone-horse of Milan: a woman’s well holp’d up with such a meacock. I had rather have a husband that would swaddle me thrice a day than such a one that will be gull’d twice in half an hour. Oh, I could burn all the wares in my shop for anger!

CANDIDO
Pray wear a peaceful temper. Be my wife,
That is, be patient, for a wife and husband
Share but one soul between them. This being known,
Why should not one soul then agree in one?

VIOLA
Hang your agreements! But if my beaker be gone—                          [Exit.

Enter CASTRUCHIO FLUELLO, PIORATTOC and GEORGE.

CANDIDO
Oh, here they come!

GEORGE
The constable, sir, let ’em come along with me because there should be no wond’ring; he stays at door.

CASTRUCHIO
Constable, goodman Abram.

FLUELLO
Now, Signior Candido. ‘Sblood, why do you attach us?

CASTRUCHIO
‘Sheart! Attach us!

CANDIDO
Nay, swear not, gallants:
Your oaths may move your souls, but not move me.
You have a silver beaker of my wife’s.

FLUELLO
You say not true: ’tis gilt.

CANDIDO
Then you say true.
And being gilt, the guilt lies more on you.

CASTRUCHIO
I hope y’are not angry, sir.

CANDIDO
Then you hope right,
For I am not angry.

PIORATTO
No, but a little mov’d.

CANDIDO
I mov’d! ‘Twas you were mov’d: you were brought hither.

CASTRUCHIO
But you, out of your anger and impatience,
Caus’d us to be attach’d.

CANDIDO
Nay, you misplace it.
Out of my quiet sufferance I did that,
And not of any wrath; had I shown anger,
I should have then pursu’d you with the law,
And hunted you to shame, as many worldlings
Do build their anger upon feebler grounds.
The more’s the pity: many lose their lives
For scarce so much coin as will hide their palm,
Which is most cruel; those have vexed spirits
That pursue lives. In this opinion rest:
The loss of millions could not move my breast.

FLUELLO
Thou art a bless’d man, and with peace dost deal;
Such a meek spirit can bless a commonweal.

CANDIDO
Gentlemen, now ’tis upon eating time;
Pray, part not hence, but dine with me today.

CASTRUCHIO
I never heard a courtier yet say nay
To such a motion. I’ll not be the first.

PIORATTO
Nor I.

FLUELLO
Nor I.

CANDIDO
The constable shall bear you company;
George, call him in. Let the world say what it can,
Nothing can drive me from a patient man.                                         [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene

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