1 Honest Whore – Act One, Scene Two

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Enter FUSTIGO in some fantastic sea-suit at one door; a Porter meets him at another.

FUSTIGO
How now, porter, will she come?

PORTER
If I may trust a woman, sir, she will come.

FUSTIGO
[Giving him money.] There’s for thy pains, godamercy.  If ever I stand in need of a wench that will come with a wet finger, porter, thou shalt earn my money before any clarissimo in Milan, yet, so God sa’ me, she’s mine own sister body and soul, as I am a Christian gentleman!  Farewell, I’ll ponder till she come:  thou hast been no bawd in fetching this woman, I assure thee.

PORTER
No matter if I had, sir: better men than porters are bawds.

FUSTIGO
Oh, God, sir, many that have borne offices! But, porter, art sure thou went’st into a true house?

PORTER
I think so, for I met with no thieves.

FUSTIGO
Nay, but art sure it was my sister Viola?

PORTER
I am sure by all superscriptions it was the party you ciphered.

FUSTIGO
Not very tall?

PORTER
Nor very low: a middling woman.

FUSTIGO
‘Twas she, faith, ’twas she! A pretty plump cheek like mine?

PORTER
At a blush, a little very much like you.

FUSTIGO
Gods so, I would not for a ducat she had kick’d up her heels, for I ha’ spent an abomination this voyage; marry, I did it amongst sailors and gentlemen. [Giving him money.] There’s a little modicum more, porter, for making thee stay.  Farewell, honest porter.

PORTER
I am in your debt, sir; God preserve you.

FUSTIGO
Not so neither, good porter.                                                                 [Exit Porter.

 

Enter VIOLA.

God’s lid, yonder she comes!  Sister Viola, I am glad to see you stirring. It’s news to have me here, is’t not, sister?

VIOLA
Yes, trust me.  I wonder’d who should be so bold to send for me.  You are welcome to Milan, brother.

FUSTIGO
Troth, sister, I heard you were married to a very rich chuff, and I was very sorry for it, that I had no better clothes, and that made me send, for you know we Milaners love to strut upon Spanish leather. And how does all our friends?

VIOLA
Very well.  You ha’ travelled enough now, I trow, to sow your wild oats.

FUSTIGO
A pox on ’em!  Wild oats?  I ha’ not an oat to throw at a horse.  Troth, sister, I ha’ sow’d my oats, and reap’d two hundred ducats if I had ’em.  Here, marry, I must entreat you to lend me some thirty or forty till the ship come.  By this hand, I’ll discharge at my day, by this hand.

VIOLA
These are your old oaths.

FUSTIGO
Why, sister, do you think I’ll forswear my hand?

VIOLA
Well, well, you shall have them.  Put yourself into better fashion, because I must employ you in a serious matter.

FUSTIGO
I’ll sweat like a horse if I like the matter.

VIOLA
You ha’ cast off all your old swaggering humours.

FUSTIGO
I had not sail’d a league in that great fishpond, the sea, but I cast up my very gall.

VIOLA
I am the more sorry, for I must employ a true swaggerer.

FUSTIGO
Nay, by this iron, sister, they shall find I am powder and touch-box if they put fire once into me.

VIOLA
Then lend me your ears.

FUSTIGO
Mine ears are yours, dear sister.

VIOLA
I am married to a man that has wealth enough, and wit enough.

FUSTIGO
A linen-draper I was told, sister.

VIOLA
Very true, a grave citizen.  I want nothing that a wife can wish from a husband.  But here’s the spite:  he has not all things belonging to a man.

FUSTIGO
God’s my life, he’s a very mandrake, or else, God bless us, one a’ these whiblins, and that’s worse!  And then all the children that he gets lawfully of your body, sister, are bastards by a statute.

VIOLA
Oh, you run over me too fast, brother! I have heard it often said that he who cannot be angry is no man.  I am sure my husband is a man in print for all things else save only in this:  no tempest can move him.

FUSTIGO
‘Slid, would he had been at sea with us, he should ha’ been mov’d and mov’d again, for I’ll be sworn, la, our drunken ship reel’d like a Dutchman!

VIOLA
No loss of goods can increase in him a wrinkle, no crabbed language make his countenance sour, the stubbornness of no servant shake him.  He has no more gall in him than a dove, no more sting than an ant.  Musician will he never be, yet I find much music in him, but he loves no frets, and is so free from anger that many times I am ready to bite off my tongue, because it wants that virtue which all women’s tongues have, to anger their husbands.  Brother, mine can by no thunder turn him into a sharpness.

FUSTIGO
Belike his blood, sister, is well-brew’d then.

VIOLA
I protest to thee, Fustigo, I love him most affectionately, but I know not–I ha’ such a tickling within me, such a strange longing; nay, verily I do long.

FUSTIGO
Then y’are with child, sister, by all signs and tokens.  Nay, I am partly a physician, and partly something else.  I ha’ read Albertus Magnus, and Aristotle’s Emblems.

VIOLA
Y’are wide a’th’bow hand still, brother; my longings are not wanton, but wayward.  I long to have my patient husband eat up a whole porcupine, to the intent the bristling quills may stick about his lips like a Flemish mustacho, and be shot at me.  I shall be leaner than the new moon, unless I can make him horn-mad.

FUSTIGO
‘Sfoot, half a quarter of an hour does that: make him a cuckold!

VIOLA
Puh, he would count such a cut no unkindness!

FUSTIGO
The honester citizen he.  Then make him drunk and cut off his beard.

VIOLA
Fie, fie, idle, idle.  He’s no Frenchman, to fret at the loss of a little scald hair.  No, brother, thus it shall be, you must be secret.

FUSTIGO
As your midwife, I protest, sister, or a barber-surgeon.

VIOLA
Repair to the Tortoise here in Saint Christopher’s Street.  I will send you money.  Turn yourself into a brave man.  Instead of the arms of your mistress, let your sword and your military scarf hang about your neck.

FUSTIGO
I must have a great horseman’s French feather too, sister.

VIOLA
Oh, by any means, to show your light head, else your hat will sit like a coxcomb!  To be brief, you must be in all points a most terrible wide-mouth’d swaggerer.

FUSTIGO
Nay, for swaggering points let me alone.

VIOLA
Resort then to our shop, and, in my husband’s presence, kiss me, snatch rings, jewels, or anything so you give it back again, brother, in secret.

FUSTIGO
By this hand, sister.

VIOLA
Swear as if you came but new from knighting.

FUSTIGO
Nay, I’ll swear after four hundred a year.

VIOLA
Swagger worse than a lieutenant among freshwater soldiers.  Call me your love, your ingle, your cousin, or so, but sister at no hand.

FUSTIGO
No, no, it shall be cousin, or rather coz.  That’s the gulling word between the citizens’ wives and their madcaps, that man ’em to the garden.  To call you one a’ mine aunts, sister, were as good as call you arrant whore.  No, no, let me alone to cousin you rarely.

VIOLA
H’as heard I have a brother, but never saw him, therefore put on a good face.

FUSTIGO
The best in Milan, I warrant.

VIOLA
Take up wares, but pay nothing, rifle my bosom, my pocket, my purse, the boxes for money to dice withal; but, brother, you must give all back again in secret.

FUSTIGO
By this welkin that here roars, I will, or else let me never know what a secret is!  Why, sister, do you think I’ll coney-catch you, when you are my cousin?  God’s my life, then I were a stark ass!  If I fret not his guts, beg me for a fool.

VIOLA
Be circumspect, and do so then. Farewell.

FUSTIGO
The Tortoise, sister?  I’ll stay there.  Forty ducats.                                           [Exit.

VIOLA
Thither I’ll send. This law can none deny:
Women must have their longings, or they die.                                                 [Exit.

 

Proceed to the next scene

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