1 Honest Whore – Act Three, Scene One

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Enter CANDIDO, his wife VIOLA, GEORGE, and two Prentices in the shop; FUSTIGO enters, walking by.

 GEORGE
See, gentlemen, what you lack!  A fine holland, a fine cambric, see what you buy!

FIRST PRENTICE
Holland for shirts, cambric for bands!  What is’t you lack?

FUSTIGO
[Aside.] ‘Sfoot, I lack ’em all; nay, more, I lack money to buy ’em.  Let me see, let me look again.  Mass, this is the shop!—[Approaching VIOLA.] What, coz!  Sweet coz!  How dost, i’faith, since last night after candlelight?  We had good sport, i’faith, had we not?  And when shall’s laugh again?

VIOLA
When you will, cousin.

FUSTIGO
Spoke like a kind Lacedemonian:  I see yonder’s thy husband.

VIOLA
Ay, there’s the sweet youth, God bless him.

FUSTIGO
And how is’t cousin?  And how?  How is’t, thou squall?

VIOLA
Well, cousin, how fare you?

FUSTIGO
How fare I?  Troth, for sixpence a meal, wench, as well as heart can wish, with calves’ chaldrons and chitterlings; besides I have a punk after supper, as good as a roasted apple.

CANDIDO
Are you my wife’s cousin?

FUSTIGO
I am, sir; what hast thou to do with that?

CANDIDO
Oh, nothing but y’are welcome.

FUSTIGO
The devil’s dung in thy teeth:  I’ll be welcome whether thou wilt or no, I!  What ring’s this, coz?  Very pretty and fantastical; i’faith, let’s see it.

VIOLA
Puh!  Nay, you wrench my finger!

FUSTIGO
I ha’ sworn I’ll ha’t, and I hope you will not let my oaths be crack’d in the ring, will you?  I hope, sir, you are not mallicolly at this for all your great looks.  Are you angry?

CANDIDO
Angry?  Not I, sir; nay, if she can part
So easily with her ring, ’tis with my heart.

GEORGE
Suffer this, sir, and suffer all, a whoreson gull, to—

CANDIDO
Peace, George; when she has reap’d what I have sown,
She’ll say one grain tastes better of her own
Than whole sheaves gather’d from another’s land:
Wit’s never good till bought at a dear hand.

GEORGE
But in the meantime she makes an ass of somebody.

SECOND PRENTICE
See, see, see, sir, as you turn your back, they do nothing but kiss.

CANDIDO
No matter, let ’em; when I touch her lip,
I shall not feel his kisses, no, nor miss
Any of her lip:  no harm in kissing is.
Look to your business, pray, make up your wares.

FUSTIGO
Troth, coz, and well remember’d, I would thou wouldst give me five yards of lawn to make my punk some falling bands a’ the fashion, three falling one upon another, for that’s the new edition now; she’s out of linen horribly too:  troth, sh’as never a good smock to her back neither, but one that has a great many patches in’t, and that I’m fain to wear myself for want of shift too.  Prithee put me into wholesome napery, and bestow some clean commodities upon us.

VIOLA
Reach me those cambrics and the lawns hither.

CANDIDO
What to do, wife?  To lavish out my goods upon a fool?

FUSTIGO
Fool!  ‘Snails, eat the fool, or I’ll so batter your crown that it shall scarce go for five shillings!

SECOND PRENTICE
Do you hear, sir?  Y’are best be quiet and say a fool tells you so.

FUSTIGO
Nails, I think so, for thou tell’st me!

CANDIDO
Are you angry, sir, because I nam’d thee fool?
Trust me, you are not wise in mine own house
And to my face to play the antic thus:
If you’ll needs play the madman, choose a stage
Of lesser compass, where few eyes may note
Your action’s error; but if still you miss,
As here you do, for one clap ten will hiss.

FUSTIGO
Zounds, cousin, he talks to me as if I were a scurvy tragedian!

SECOND PRENTICE
[Taking GEORGE aside.] Sirrah George, I ha’ thought upon a device how to break his pate, beat him soundly, and ship him away.

GEORGE
Do’t.

SECOND PRENTICE
I’ll go in, pass thorough the house, give some of our fellow prentices the watchword when they shall enter, then come and fetch my master in by a wile, and place one in the hall to hold him in conference, whilst we cudgel the gull out of his coxcomb.

GEORGE
Do’t!  Away, do’t!

VIOLA
Must I call twice for these cambrics and lawns?

CANDIDO
Nay, see, you anger her, George; prithee dispatch.

SECOND PRENTICE
Two of the choicest pieces are in the warehouse, sir.

CANDIDO
Go fetch them presently.

FUSTIGO
Ay, do; make haste, sirrah.                                                      [Exit Second Prentice.

CANDIDO
Why were you such a stranger all this while, being my wife’s cousin?

FUSTIGO
Stranger?  No, sir, I’m a natural Milaner born.

CANDIDO
I perceive still it is your natural guise to mistake me, but you are welcome, sir; I much wish your acquaintance.

FUSTIGO
My acquaintance?  I scorn that, i’faith; I hope my acquaintance goes in chains of gold three and fifty times double:  you know who I mean, coz; the posts of his gate are a-painting too.

Enter the SECOND PRENTICE.

SECOND PRENTICE
Signior Pandulfo the merchant desires conference with you.

CANDIDO
Signior Pandulfo?  I’ll be with him straight.
Attend your mistress and the gentleman.                                                        [Exit.

VIOLA
When do you show those pieces?

FUSTIGO
Ay, when do you show those pieces?

OMNES PRENTICES
Presently, sir, presently; we are but charging them.

FUSTIGO
Come, sirrah, you flatcap, where be these whites?

GEORGE
Flatcap?  [Aside to him] Hark in your ear, sir: y’are a flat fool, an ass, a gull, and I’ll thrum you!
Do you see this cambric, sir?

FUSTIGO
‘Sfoot, coz, a good jest!  Did you hear him?  He told me in my ear I was “a flat fool, an ass, a gull, and I’ll thrum you.   Do you see this cambric, sir?”

VIOLA
What, not my men, I hope?

FUSTIGO
No, not your men, but one of your men, i’faith.

FIRST PRENTICE
I pray, sir, come hither.  What say you to this?  Here’s an excellent good one.

FUSTIGO
Ay, marry, this likes me well; cut me off some half score yards.

SECOND PRENTICE
[Aside to him.] Let your whores cut; y’are an impudent coxcomb: you get none; and yet I’ll thrum you!  A very good cambric, sir.

FUSTIGO
Again, again, as God judge me!  ‘Sfoot, coz, they stand thrumming here with me all day, and yet I get nothing!

FIRST PRENTICE
[Aside to him.] A word, I pray, sir:  you must not be angry; prentices have hot bloods, young fellows.  What say you to this piece?  Look you, ’tis so delicate, so soft, so even, so fine a thread that a lady may wear it.

FUSTIGO
‘Sfoot, I think so:  if a knight marry my punk, a lady shall wear it.  Cut me off twenty yards; th’art an honest lad.

FIRST PRENTICE
[Aside to him.] Not without money, gull, and I’ll thrum you too!

OMNES PRENTICES
[Aside to him.] Gull, we’ll thrum you!

FUSTIGO
Oh, Lord, sister, did you not hear something cry thump?  Zounds, your men here make a plain ass of me!

VIOLA
What, to my face so impudent?

GEORGE
Ay, in a cause so honest, we’ll not suffer
Our master’s goods to vanish moneyless.

VIOLA
You will not suffer them?

SECOND PRENTICE
No, and you may blush
In going about to vex so mild a breast
As is our master’s.

VIOLA
Take away those pieces.
Cousin, I give them freely.

FUSTIGO
Mass, and I’ll take ’em as freely!

OMNES PRENTICES
We’ll make you lay ’em down again more freely.      [They beat FUSTIGO.

VIOLA
Help, help, my brother will be murdered!

Enter CANDIDO.

CANDIDO
How now, what coil is here?  Forbear, I say!

GEORGE
He calls us flatcaps and abuses us.

CANDIDO
Why, sirs?  Do such examples flow from me?

VIOLA
They are of your keeping, sir.  Alas, poor brother!

FUSTIGO
I’faith, they ha’ pepper’d me, sister!  Look, does’t spin?  Call you these prentices?  I’ll ne’er play at cards more when clubs is trump.  I have a goodly coxcomb, sister, have I not?

CANDIDO
Sister and brother, brother to my wife!

FUSTIGO
If you have any skill in heraldry, you may soon know that:  break but her pate, and you shall see her blood and mine is all one.

CANDIDO
A surgeon, run, a surgeon!                                                    [Exit First Prentice.
Why then wore you that forged name of cousin?

FUSTIGO
Because it’s a common thing to call coz and ningle nowadays all the world over.

CANDIDO
Cousin!  A name of much deceit, folly and sin,
For under that common abused word
Many an honest temp’red citizen
Is made a monster, and his wife train’d out
To foul adulterous action, full of fraud
I may well call that word “a city’s bawd.”

FUSTIGO
Troth, brother, my sister would needs ha’ me take upon me to gull your patience a little, but it has made double gules on my coxcomb.

VIOLA
What, playing the woman?  Blabbing now, you fool?

CANDIDO
Oh, my wife did but exercise a jest upon your wit.

FUSTIGO
‘Sfoot, my wit bleeds for’t, methinks!

CANDIDO
Then let this warning more of sense afford:
The name of cousin is a bloody word.

FUSTIGO
I’ll ne’er call coz again whilst I live, to have such a coil about it: this should be a coronation day, for my head runs claret lustily.                                              [Exit.

Enter an Officer.

 CANDIDO
Go wish the surgeon to have great respect.                  [Exit SECOND PRENTICE.
How now, my friend; what, do they sit today?

OFFICER
Yes, sir, they expect you at the senate-house.

CANDIDO
I thank your pains; I’ll not be last man there.                                      [Exit Officer.
My gown, George, go, my gown.                                                     [Exit GEORGE.
A happy land,
Where grave men meet each cause to understand,
Whose consciences are not cut out in bribes
To gull the poor man’s right, but in even scales
Peize rich and poor without corruption’s vails.

Enter GEORGE.

Come, where’s the gown?

GEORGE
I cannot find the key, sir.

CANDIDO
Request it of your mistress.

VIOLA
Come not to me for any key.
I’ll not be troubled to deliver it.

CANDIDO
Good wife, kind wife, it is a needful trouble,
But for my gown.

VIOLA
Moths swallow down your gown!
You set my teeth an edge with talking on’t.

CANDIDO
Nay, prithee, sweet, I cannot meet without it;
I should have a great fine set on my head.

VIOLA
Set on your coxcomb:  tush, fine me no fines!

CANDIDO
Believe me, sweet, none greets the senate-house
Without his robe of reverence, that’s his gown.

VIOLA
Well, then y’are like to cross that custom once:
You get nor key, nor gown, and so depart.
[Aside.] This trick will vex him sure and fret his heart.                                 [Exit.

CANDIDO
Stay, let me see, I must have some device;
My cloak’s too short:  fie, fie, no cloak will do’t!
It must be something fashioned like a gown,
With my arms out.  Oh, George, come hither, George!
I prithee lend me thine advice.

GEORGE
Troth, sir, were it any but you, they would break open chest.

CANDIDO
Oh, no!  Break open chest?  That’s a thief’s office;
Therein you counsel me against my blood:
‘Twould show impatience that; any meek means
I would be glad to embrace.  Mass, I have got it!
Go, step up, fetch me down one of the carpets,
The saddest colour’d carpet, honest George;
Cut thou a hole i’th’middle for my neck,
Two for mine arms.  Nay, prithee look not strange.

GEORGE
I hope you do not think, sir, as you mean.

CANDIDO
Prithee about it quickly, the hour chides me:
Warily, George, softly, take heed of eyes.                                     [Exit GEORGE.
Out of two evils he’s accounted wise
That can pick out the least; the fine impos’d
For an ungowned senator, is about
Forty cruzadoes, the carpet not ‘bove four.
Thus have I chosen the lesser evil yet,
Preserv’d my patience, foil’d her desperate wit.

Enter GEORGE.

 GEORGE
Here, sir, here’s the carpet.

CANDIDO
Oh, well done, George; we’ll cut it just i’th’midst.
‘Tis very well, I thank thee; help it on.

GEORGE
It must come over your head, sir, like a wench’s petticoat.

CANDIDO
Th’art in the right, good George, it must indeed.
Fetch me a nightcap, for I’ll gird it close,
As if my health were queasy:  ’twill show well
For a rude careless nightgown, will’t not, think’st?

GEORGE
Indifferent well, sir, for a nightgown, being girt and pleated.

CANDIDO
Ay, and a nightcap on my head.

GEORGE
That’s true, sir; I’ll run and fetch one, and a staff.                  [Exit GEORGE.

CANDIDO
For thus they cannot choose but conster it,
One that is out of health takes no delight,
Wears his apparel without appetite,
And puts on heedless raiment without form.

Enter GEORGE.

So, so, kind George, be secret now, and prithee
Do not laugh at me till I’m out of sight.

GEORGE
I laugh?  Not I, sir.

CANDIDO
Now to the senate-house:
Methinks I’d rather wear without a frown
A patient carpet than an angry gown.                                                        [Exit.

GEORGE
Now looks my master just like one of our carpet knights, only he’s somewhat the honester of the two.

Enter VIOLA.

 VIOLA
What, is your master gone?

GEORGE
Yes, forsooth, his back is but new-turn’d.

VIOLA
And in his cloak?  Did he not vex and swear?

GEORGE
[Aside] No, but he’ll make you swear anon.  No, indeed, he went away like a lamb.

VIOLA
Key sink to hell:  still patient, patient still!
I am with child to vex him.  Prithee, George,
If e’er thou look’st for favour at my hands,
Uphold one jest for me.

GEORGE
Against my master?

VIOLA
‘Tis a mere jest, in faith.  Say, wilt thou do’t?

GEORGE
Well, what is’t?

VIOLA
Here, take this key, thou know’st where all things lie;
Put on thy master’s best apparel, gown,
Chain, cap, ruff, everything:  be like himself,
And ‘gainst his coming home, walk in the shop,
Feign the same carriage and his patient look.
‘Twill breed but a jest, thou know’st; speak, wilt thou?

GEORGE
‘Twill wrong my master’s patience.

VIOLA
Prithee, George.

GEORGE
Well, if you’ll save me harmless and put me under covert bar’n, I am content to please you, provided it may breed no wrong against him.

VIOLA
No wrong at all; here take the key, be gone:
If any vex him, this; if not this, none.                                                        [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene

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