1 Honest Whore – Act Three, Scene Two

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Enter a Bawd and ROGER.

BAWD
Oh, Roger, Roger, where’s your mistress, where’s your mistress?  There’s the finest, neatest gentleman at my house but newly come over!  Oh, where is she, where is she, where is she?

ROGER
My mistress is abroad, but not amongst ’em:  my mistress is not the whore now that you take her for.

BAWD
How!  Is she not a whore?  Do you go about to take away her good name, Roger?  You are a fine pander indeed!

ROGER
I tell you, Madonna Fingerlock, I am not sad for nothing; I ha’ not eaten one good meal this three and thirty days:  I had wont to get sixteen pence by fetching a pottle of Hypocras, but now those days are past.  We had as good doings, Madonna Fingerlock, she withindoors and I without, as any poor young couple in Milan.

BAWD
Gods my life, and is she chang’d now?

ROGER
I ha’ lost by her squeamishness, more than would have builded twelve bawdy houses.

BAWD
And had she no time to turn honest but now?  What a vile woman is this!  Twenty pound a night, I’ll be sworn, Roger, in good gold and no silver:  why here was a time, if she should ha’ pick’d out a time, it could not be better!  Gold enough stirring; choice of men, choice of hair, choice of beards, choice of legs, and choice of every, every, everything:  it cannot sink into my head, that she should be such an ass, Roger, I never believe it.

ROGER
Here she comes now.

Enter BELLAFRONT.

BAWD
Oh, sweet madonna, on with your loose gown, your felt and your feather.  There’s the sweetest, prop’rest, gallantest gentleman at my house:  he smells all of musk and ambergris, his pocket full of crowns, flame-colour’d doublet, red satin hose, carnation silk stockings, and a leg and a body, oh!

BELLAFRONT
Hence, thou our sex’s monster, poisonous bawd,
Lust’s factor, and damnation’s orator,
Gossip of hell!  Were all the harlots’ sins
Which the whole world contains numb’red together,
Thine far exceeds them all; of all the creatures
That ever were created, thou art basest!
What serpent would beguile thee of thy office?
It is detestable, for thou liv’st
Upon the dregs of harlots, guard’st the door,
Whilst couples go to dancing.  Oh, coarse devil!
Thou art the bastard’s curse, thou brand’st his birth;
The lecher’s French disease, for thou dry-suck’st him;
The harlot’s poison, and thine own confusion.

BAWD
Marry come up with a pox, have you nobody to rail against but your bawd now?

BELLAFRONT
And you, knave pander, kinsman to a bawd—

ROGER
You and I, madonna, are cousins.

BELLAFRONT
Of the same blood and making, near allied,
Thou, that slave to sixpence, base-metall’d villain!

ROGER
Sixpence?  Nay, that’s not so: I never took under two shillings fourpence; I hope I know my fee.

BELLAFRONT
I know not against which most to inveigh,
For both of you are damn’d so equally.
Thou never spar’st for oaths, swear’st anything,
As if thy soul were made of shoe-leather:
“God damn me, gentleman, if she be within,”
When in the next room she’s found dallying.

ROGER
If it be my vocation to swear, every man in his vocation:  I hope my betters swear and damn themselves, and why should not I?

BELLAFRONT
Roger, you cheat kind gentlemen?

ROGER
The more gulls they.

BELLAFRONT
Slave, I cashier thee!

BAWD
And you do cashier him, he shall be entertain’d.

ROGER
Shall I?  Then blurt a’ your service!

BELLAFRONT
As hell would have it, entertain’d by you!
I dare the devil himself to match those two.                                                  [Exit.

BAWD
Marry gup, are you grown so holy, so pure, so honest with a pox?

ROGER
Scurvy, honest punk!  But stay, madonna, how must our agreement be now?  For you know I am to have all the comings in at the hall door, and you at the chamber door.

BAWD
True, Roger, except my vails.

ROGER
Vails? What vails?

BAWD
Why, as thus:  if a couple come in a coach, and light to lie down a little, then, Roger, that’s my fee, and you may walk abroad, for the coachman himself is their pander.

ROGER
Is ‘a’ so?  In truth, I have almost forgot for want of exercise.  But how if I fetch this citizen’s wife to that gull, and that madonna to that gallant, how then?

BAWD
Why then, Roger, you are to have sixpence a lane:  so many lanes, so many sixpences.

ROGER
Is’t so? Then I see we two shall agree and live together.

BAWD
Ay, Roger, so long as there be any taverns and bawdy houses in Milan.   [Exeunt.

Proceed to the next scene

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