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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)

    1960[4.3]
    Enter [Viola], Candido’s Wife, in her shop, and the two Prentices.
    Viola
    What’s o’clock now?
    2 Prentice
    ’Tis almost twelve.
    Viola
    That’s well.
    1965The Senate will leave wording presently.
    But is George ready?
    2 Prentice
    Yes, forsooth, he’s furbished.
    Viola
    Now, as you ever hope to win my favour,
    Throw both your duties and respects on him
    1970With the like awe as if he were your master.
    Let not your looks betray it with a smile
    Or jeering glance to any customer;
    Keep a true settled countenance, and beware
    You laugh not, whatsoever you hear or see.
    19752 Prentice
    I warrant you, mistress, let us alone for keeping our countenance; for if I list, there’s never a fool in all Milan shall make me laugh, let him play the fool never so like an ass, whether it be the fat court fool or the lean city fool.
    Enough, then; call down George.
    19802 Prentice
    I hear him coming.
    Enter George [wearing Candido’s best apparel].
    [To the Prentices] Be ready with your legs, then; let me see
    How court’sy would become him. [The Prentices curtsy.] Gallantly!
    [Commenting on George] Beshrew my blood, a proper, seemly man,
    1985Of a choice carriage, walks with a good port.
    George
    I thank you, mistress. My back’s broad enough, now my master’s gown’s on.
    Sure, I should think it were the least of sin
    To mistake the master, and to let him in.
    1990George
    ’Twere a good comedy of errors, that, i’faith.
    2 Prentice
    Whist, whist, my master!
    You all know your tasks.
    Enter Candido, [wearing the carpet as before. He stares at George], and exit presently.
    God’s my life, what’s that he has got upon’s back? Who can tell?
    1995George
    [Aside] That can I, but I will not.
    Girt about him like a madman. What? Has he lost his cloak, too? This is the maddest fashion that e’er I saw. What said he, George, when he passed by thee?
    George
    Troth, mistress, nothing: not so much as a bee, he did 2000not hum; not so much as a bawd, he did not hem; not so much as a cuckold, he did not ha. Neither hum, hem, nor ha – only stared me in the face, passed along, and made haste in, as if my looks had worked with him to give him a stool.
    Sure he’s vexed now; this trick has moved his spleen.
    2005He’s angered now, because he uttered nothing,
    And wordless wrath breaks out more violent.
    Maybe he’ll strive for place, when he comes down;
    But if thou lov’st me, George, afford him none.
    George
    Nay, let me alone to play my master’s prize, as long as 2010my mistress warrants me. I’m sure I have his best clothes on, and I scorn to give place to any that is inferior in apparel to me. That’s an axiom, a principle, and is observed as much as the fashion. Let that persuade you, then, that I’ll shoulder with him for the upper hand in the shop, as long as this 2015chain will maintain it.
    Spoke with the spirit of a master, though with the tongue of a prentice.
    Enter Candido like a prentice.
    Why, how now, madman? What, in your tricksy coats?
    2020Candido
    O peace, good mistress.
    Enter Crambo and Poh.
    [To them] See what you lack! What is’t you buy? Pure calicoes, fine hollands, choice cambrics, neat lawns. See what you buy. Pray come near. My master will use you well; he can 2025afford you a pennyworth.
    Ay, that he can – out of a whole piece of lawn, i’faith.
    Candido
    Pray see your choice here, gentlemen.
    O fine fool! What, a madman? A patient madman? Who ever heard of the like? Well, sir, I’ll fit you and your 2030humour presently. What, cross-points? I’ll untie ’em all in a trice. I’ll vex you, faith! Boy, take your cloak; quick, come!
    Exit [with 1 Prentice].
    [George takes off his hat to Candido.]
    Candido
    Be covered, George. This chain and welted gown
    Bare to this coat? Then the world’s upside-down.
    George
    Umh, umh, hum.
    2035Crambo
    [Aside to Poh] That’s the shop, and there’s the fellow. [Indicating Candido in his prentice-coat.]
    Ay, but the master is walking in there.
    Crambo
    No matter; we’ll in.
    ’Sblood, dost long to lie in limbo?
    Crambo
    An limbo be in hell, I care not.
    2040Candido
    [To them] Look you, gentlemen, your choice. Cambrics?
    Crambo
    No, sir, some shirting.
    Candido
    You shall.
    Crambo
    Have you none of this striped canvas for doublets?
    Candido
    None striped, sir; but plain.
    20452 Prentice
    I think there be one piece striped within.
    George
    Step, sirrah, and fetch it; hum, hum, hum.
    [Exit 2 Prentice, and returns presently with the piece.]
    Candido
    Look you, gentlemen, I’ll make but one spreading. Here’s a piece of cloth, fine, yet shall wear like iron. ’Tis without fault. Take this; upon my word, ’tis without fault.
    2050Crambo
    Then ’tis better than you, sirrah.
    Candido
    Ay, and a number more. O, that each soul
    Were but as spotless as this innocent white,
    And had as few breaks in it!
    Crambo
    ’Twould have some, then,
    There was a fray here last 2055day in this shop.
    Candido
    There was, indeed, a little flea-biting.
    A gentleman had his pate broke. Call you that but a flea-biting?
    Candido
    He had so.
    2060Crambo
    Zounds, do you stand in’t? He strikes him.
    George
    ’Sfoot, clubs, clubs! Prentices, down with ’em! Ah, you rogues, strike a citizen in’s shop?
    [Enter several Prentices with clubs. They strike Crambo and Poh, and disarm them.]
    Candido
    None of you stir, I pray. Forbear, good George.
    Crambo
    [To Candido] I beseech you, sir, we mistook our marks.
    Deliver 2065us our weapons.
    George
    [To Candido] Your head bleeds, sir. Cry clubs.
    Candido
    I say you shall not. Pray be patient;
    Give them their weapons. [George complies.]
    [To Crambo and Poh] Sirs, you’re best be gone.
    I tell you here are boys more tough than bears;
    2070Hence, lest more fists do walk about your ears.
    Crambo and Poh
    We thank you, sir.
    Exeunt [Crambo and Poh].
    Candido
    [To George] You shall not follow them.
    Let them alone, pray. This did me no harm.
    Troth, I was cold, and the blow made me warm;
    2075I thank ’em for’t. Besides, I had decreed
    To have a vein pricked. I did mean to bleed,
    So that there’s money saved. They are honest men;
    Pray use ’em well when they appear again.
    George
    Yes, sir, we’ll use ’em like honest men.
    2080Candido
    Ay, well said, George, like honest men, though they be arrant knaves, for that’s the phrase of the city. Help to lay up these wares.
    Enter [Viola], Candido’s Wife, with Officers.
    [Indicating Candido] Yonder he stands.
    20851 Officer
    What, in a prentice-coat?
    Ay, ay, mad, mad. Pray take heed.
    Candido
    [To George and the Prentices] How now? What news with them? What make they with my wife? Officers? Is she attached? Look to your wares.
    He talks to himself. O, he’s much gone indeed!
    20901 Officer
    Pray pluck up a good heart; be not so fearful. [To his men] Sirs, hark; we’ll gather to him by degrees.
    Ay, ay, by degrees, I pray. O me! What makes he with the lawn in his hand? He’ll tear all the ware in my shop.
    1 Officer
    Fear not; we’ll catch him on a sudden.
    O you had need do so; pray take heed of your warrant.
    1 Officer
    I warrant, mistress. – Now, Signor Candido?
    Candido
    Now, sir, what news with you, sir?
    ‘What news with you?’ he says. O, he’s far gone!
    1 Officer
    [To her] I pray, fear nothing. Let’s alone with him. –
    2100Signor, you look not like yourself, methinks.
    [Aside to his men]
    Steal you o’t’ other side.
    [To Candido] You’re changed, you’re altered.
    Candido
    Changed, sir? Why, true, sir. Is change strange? ’Tis not the fashion unless it alter: monarchs turn to beggars, beggars creep into the nests of princes, masters serve their 2105prentices, ladies their servingmen, men turn to women.
    1 Officer
    And women turn to men.
    Candido
    Ay, and women turn to men. You say true, ha, ha! A mad world, a mad world.
    [Officers seize Candido]
    1 Officer
    Have we caught you, sir?
    2110Candido
    Caught me? [Laughing] Well, well, you have caught me.
    [To 1 Officer] He laughs in your faces.
    A rescue, prentices! My master’s catchpoled.
    1 Officer
    I charge you, keep the peace or have your legs gartered with irons. We have from the Duke a warrant strong 2115enough for what we do.
    Candido
    [To George and the Prentices] I pray, rest quiet; I desire no rescue.
    La, he desires no rescue. ’Las, poor heart,
    He talks against himself.
    Candido
    [To 1 Officer] Well, what’s the matter?
    21201 Officer
    [To his men as they bind Candido] Look to that arm;
    Pray make sure work, double the cord.
    Candido
    Why, why?
    Look how his head goes! Should he get but loose,
    O, ’twere as much as all our lives were worth.
    21251 Officer
    Fear not; we’ll make all sure, for our own safety.
    Candido
    Are you at leisure now? Well, what’s the matter?
    Why do I enter into bonds thus, ha?
    1 Officer
    Because you’re mad, put fear upon your wife.
    O, ay, I went in danger of my life every minute.
    2130Candido
    What? Am I mad, say you, and I not know it?
    1 Officer
    That proves you mad, because you know it not.
    Pray talk as little to him as you can:
    You see he’s too far spent.
    Candido
    Bound with strong cord!
    2135A sisters thread, i’faith, had been enough
    To lead me anywhere. – Wife, do you long?
    You are mad too, or else you do me wrong.
    But are you mad indeed, master?
    Candido
    My wife says so,
    2140And what she says, George, is all truth, you know.
    [To 1 Officer] And whither now? To Bethlem Monastery?
    Ha? Whither?
    1 Officer
    Faith, e’en to the madmen’s pound.
    Candido
    O’God’s name! Still I feel my patience sound.
    Exeunt [Officers with Candido].
    [To Prentices] Come, we’ll see whither he goes. If the master be 2145mad, we are his servants, and must follow his steps; we’ll be madcaps too. – Farewell, mistress; you shall have us all in Bedlam.
    Exeunt [George and Prentices].
    I think I ha’ fitted now you and your clothes.
    If this moves not his patience, nothing can;
    2150I’ll swear then I have a saint, and not a man.
    Exit.