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  • Title: The Honest Whore, Part 1 (Modern)
  • Editor: Joost Daalder
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-490-5

    Copyright Digital Renaissance Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Authors: Thomas Dekker, Thomas Middleton
    Editor: Joost Daalder
    Peer Reviewed

    The Honest Whore, Part 1 (Modern)

    481.1[1.5]
    Enter [Viola], Candido’s Wife, George, and two Prentices, in the shop.
    Viola
    Come, you put up your wares in good order here, do 485you 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 curst 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 490house spoil all the servants that ever shall come under them.
    1 Prentice
    [Aside] You patient! Ay, so is the devil when he is horn-mad.
    Enter Castruccio, Fluello, and Pioratto.
    George and the Prentices
    Gentlemen, what do you lack? What is’t you buy? 495See, fine hollands, fine cambrics, fine lawns.
    George
    What is’t you lack?
    2 Prentice
    What is’t you buy?
    Castruccio
    Where’s Signor Candido, thy master?
    George
    Faith, signor, he’s a little negotiated. He’ll appear presently.
    500Castruccio
    [To George] Fellow, let’s see a lawn, a choice one, sirrah.
    George
    The best in all Milan, gentlemen, and [Showing it] 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, 505most neat, feat, and unmatchable!
    Fluello
    [Aside to Pioratto] A notable, voluble-tongued villain.
    Pioratto
    [Aside to Fluello] I warrant this fellow was never begot without much prating.
    Castruccio
    [To George with his piece of lawn] What, and is this she, sayst thou?
    [He handles the cloth.]
    510George
    Ay, and the purest she that ever you fingered 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.
    Castruccio
    Pooh, thou talkst – pox on’t, ’tis rough.
    515George
    How? Is she rough? But if you bid pox on’t sir, ’twill take away the roughness presently.
    Fluello
    [To Castruccio] Ha, signor! Has he fitted your French curse?
    George
    [To Castruccio] Look you, gentleman, here’s another. [He displays another cloth.] Compare them, I pray: compara Virgilium cum Homero, compare virgins 520with harlots.
    Castruccio
    Pooh, 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.
    525Castruccio
    [Aside to his companions] O, here he comes. Let’s make as though we pass.
    [Aloud] Come, come, we’ll try in some other shop.
    [The Gentlemen start to leave.]
    Candido
    How now? What’s the matter?
    George
    The gentlemen find fault with this lawn, fall out with it, and without a cause too.
    530Candido
    Without a cause?
    And that makes you to let ’em pass away? –
    Ah, may I crave a word with you gentlemen?
    Fluello
    [Aside to his companions] He calls us.
    Castruccio
    [Aside to Fluello] Makes the better for the jest.
    535Candido
    I pray come near. You’re very welcome, gallants.
    Pray pardon my man’s rudeness, for I fear me
    H’as talked above a prentice with you. [To a Prentice] Lawns!
    [Showing the lawns] Look you, kind gentlemen. – This? No. – Ay, this;
    Take this, upon my honest-dealing faith,
    540To be a true weave, not too hard, nor slack,
    But e’en as far from falsehood as from black.
    Castruccio
    Well, how do you rate it?
    Candido
    Very conscionable, eighteen shillings a yard.
    Castruccio
    That’s too dear. How many yards does the whole 545piece contain, think you?
    Candido
    Why, some seventeen yards I think, or thereabouts. How much would serve your turn, I pray?
    Castruccio
    Why, let me see. [He examines the cloth.] Would it were better, too.
    Candido
    Truth, ’tis the best in Milan, at few words.
    550Castruccio
    Well, let me have, then – a whole pennyworth.
    Candido
    Ha, ha! You’re a merry gentleman.
    Castruccio
    A penn’orth, I say.
    Candido
    Of lawn?
    Castruccio
    Of lawn? Ay, of lawn, a penn’orth. ’Sblood, dost not 555hear? A whole penn’orth. Are you deaf?
    Candido
    Deaf? No, sir, but I must tell you
    Our wares do seldom meet such customers.
    Castruccio
    Nay, an you and your lawns be so squeamish, fare you well.
    [He makes as if to go.]
    560Candido
    Pray stay, a word. Pray, signor,
    For what purpose is it, I beseech you?
    Castruccio
    ’Sblood, what’s that to you? I’ll have a pennyworth.
    Candido
    A pennyworth? Why, you shall. I’ll serve you presently.
    2 Prentice
    [Aside to Viola] ’Sfoot, a pennyworth, mistress!
    565Viola
    [To Candido] A pennyworth! Call you these gentlemen?
    Castruccio
    [To Candido, as he starts to cut the cloth] No, no, not there.
    Candido
    What then, kind gentleman? What, at this corner here?
    Castruccio
    No, nor there neither.
    I’ll have it just in the middle, or else not.
    570Candido
    Just in the middle. Ha, you shall, too. What,
    Have you a single penny?
    Castruccio
    [Producing a coin] Yes, here’s one.
    Candido
    Lend it me, I pray.
    Fluello
    [Aside] An excellent-followed jest!
    Viola
    What, will he spoil the lawn now?
    575Candido
    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
    [As he proceeds to cut the cloth] Pray, gentlemen, take her to be a woman;
    580Do not regard her language. [To Viola] O kind soul,
    Such words will drive away my customers.
    Viola
    ‘Customers’ with a murrain! Call you these customers?
    Candido
    Patience, good wife.
    Viola
    Pax o’your patience!
    George
    ’Sfoot, mistress, I warrant these are some cheating 585companions.
    Candido
    Look you, gentleman, there’s your ware. I thank you;
    I have your money.
    [Handing over the piece of cloth]
    Here. Pray know my shop,
    Let me have your custom.
    Viola
    ‘Custom’, quoth’a!
    Candido
    Let me take more of your money.
    590Viola
    You had need so.
    Pioratto
    [Aside to Castruccio] Hark in thine ear: th’ast lost a hundred ducats.
    Castruccio
    [Aside in reply] Well, well, I know’t. Is’t possible that homo
    Should be nor man nor woman? Not once moved,
    No, not at such an injury, not at all!
    595Sure he’s a pigeon, for he has no gall.
    Fluello
    [To Candido] Come, come, you’re angry, though you smother it;
    You’re vexed, i’faith – confess.
    Candido
    Why, gentlemen,
    Should you conceit me to be vexed or moved?
    He has my ware, I have his money for’t;
    600And that’s no argument I am angry. No,
    The best logician cannot prove me so.
    Fluello
    O, but the hateful name of a pennyworth of lawn,
    And then cut out i’th’ middle of the piece!
    Pah, I guess it by myself. ’Twould move a lamb,
    605Were 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.
    610Maybe his mind stood to no more than that.
    A penn’orth serves him; and ’mongst trades ’tis found,
    ‘Deny a penn’worth, it may cross a pound.’
    O, he that means to thrive with patient eye
    Must please the devil if he come to buy.
    615Fluello
    O wondrous man, patient ’bove wrong or woe!
    How blest were men if women could be so.
    Candido
    And to express how well my breast is pleased
    And satisfied in all, George, fill a beaker.
    Exit George.
    I’ll drink unto that gentleman who lately
    620Bestowed 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 [with filled beaker].
    Candido
    [Passing the beaker to Viola]
    Here, wife, begin you to the gentleman.
    I begin to him?
    [She deliberately spills the drink.]
    Candido
    George, fill’t up again. –
    625’Twas my fault; my hand shook.
    Exit George [with beaker].
    Pioratto
    [Aside to his friends] How strangely this doth show:
    A patient man linked with a waspish shrew!
    Fluello
    [Aside] A silver-and-gilt beaker! I have a trick
    To work upon that beaker. Sure ’twill fret him;
    630It cannot choose but vex him.
    [Aside to Castruccio] Signor Castruccio,
    In pity to thee I have a conceit
    Will save thy hundred ducats yet; ’twill do’t,
    And work him to impatience.
    Castruccio
    [Aside to Fluello] Sweet Fluello,
    I should be bountiful to that conceit.
    635Fluello
    Well, ’tis enough.
    Enter George [with filled beaker and jug].
    Candido
    [To Castruccio, holding the beaker]
    Here, gentleman, to you.
    I wish your custom; you’re exceeding welcome.
    [He takes a sip and passes the beaker to Castruccio.]
    Castruccio
    I pledge you, Signor Candido. [He drinks to Candido.]
    Here, to you, that must receive a hundred ducats.
    [He drinks to Pioratto, and passes the beaker to him.]
    640Pioratto
    I’ll pledge them deep, i’faith, Castruccio. [He drinks.]
    Signor Fluello.
    [He drinks to Fluello.]
    Fluello
    [To Pioratto] Come, play’t off – to me;
    I am your last man.
    [Pioratto empties out the beaker, as urged by Fluello, who is to drink next.]
    Candido
    George, supply the cup.
    [George fills the beaker and pases it to Fluello.]
    Fluello
    So, so, good honest George.
    645Here, Signor Candido;
    [He drinks a little to Candido.]
    all this to you.
    [He passes the beaker to him.]
    Candido
    O, 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.
    650Fluello
    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.
    655Candido
    The beaker? O, that at your pleasure, sir.
    Fluello
    Now, by this drink, I will.
    Castruccio
    [To Candido] Pledge him; he’ll do’t else.
    [Candido does not move. Fluello drinks the contents of the beaker. He pours out the last drop on his thumbnail.]
    Fluello
    So. I ha’ done you right, on my thumbnail.
    What, will you pledge me now?
    660Candido
    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.
    665Farewell, Signor Candido.
    Pioratto
    Farewell, Candido.
    Candido
    You’re welcome, gentlemen.
    Castruccio
    [Aside] Heart, not moved yet?
    [Aside to Fluello] I think his patience is above your wit.
    Exeunt [Castruccio, Pioratto, and Fluello with the beaker].
    670George
    I told you before, mistress, they were all cheaters.
    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. – Go, fellows, make hue and cry after them.
    675Candido
    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,
    680’Tis but a size above a jest, thou knowst.
    Therefore pursue it mildly. Go, begone.
    The constable’s hard by, bring him along.
    Make haste again.
    Exit George.
    O, you’re a goodly patient woodcock, are you not now? 685See what your patience comes to: everyone saddles you and rides you, you’ll be shortly the common stone-horse of Milan. A woman’s well holped 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 gulled twice in half an 690hour. O, 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?
    Hang your agreements! But if my beaker be gone –
    Exit.
    Enter Castruccio, Fluello, Pioratto, and George.
    Candido
    O, here they come.
    George
    The constable, sir, let ’em come along with me, because there should be no wondering. He stays at door.
    700Castruccio
    Constable, Goodman Abram?
    Fluello
    Now, Signor Candido, ’sblood, why do you attach us?
    Castruccio
    ’Sheart! Attach us!
    Candido
    Nay, swear not, gallants.
    Your oaths may move your souls, but not move me;
    705You 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.
    Castruccio
    I hope you’re not angry, sir.
    710Candido
    Then you hope right,
    For I am not angry.
    Pioratto
    No, but a little moved.
    Candido
    I moved? ’Twas you were moved; you were brought hither.
    Castruccio
    But you, out of your anger and impatience,
    Caused us to be attached.
    715Candido
    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 pursued you with the law,
    And hunted you to shame, as many worldlings
    720Do 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 vexèd spirits
    That pursue lives. In this opinion rest:
    725The loss of millions could not move my breast.
    Fluello
    Thou art a blest 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.
    730Castruccio
    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.
    735George, call him in. Let the world say what it can,
    Nothing can drive me from a patient man.
    Exeunt.