Digital Renaissance Editions

Author: Thomas Dekker
Editor: Joost Daalder
Peer Reviewed

The Honest Whore, Part 2 (Modern)

1290.1[3.2]
Enter Mattheo, [who stands aside], Bellafront, and Orlando [as Pacheco].
Bellafront
How now, what ails your master?
Orlando
H’as taken a younger brother’s purge, forsooth, and that works with him.
1295Bellafront
Where is his cloak and rapier?
Orlando
He has given up his cloak, and his rapier is bound to the peace. If you look a little higher, you may see that another hath entered into hatband for him too. Six and four have put him into this sweat.
1300Bellafront
Where’s all his money?
Orlando
’Tis put over by exchange. His doublet was going to be translated, but for me. If any man would ha’ lent but half a ducat on his beard, the hair of it had stuffed a pair of breeches by this time. I had but one poor penny, and 1305that I was glad to niggle out and buy a holly-wand to grace him through the street. As hap was, his boots were on, and them I dustied, to make people think he had been riding and I had run by him.
Bellafront
O me! [To Mattheo] How does my sweet Mattheo?
1310Mattheo
O rogue, of what devilish stuff are these dice made of? Of the parings of the devil’s corns of his toes, that they run thus damnably?
Bellafront
I prithee, vex not.
Mattheo
If any handicraftsman was ever suffered to keep 1315shop in hell, it will be a dice-maker. He’s able to undo more souls than the devil; I played with mine own dice, yet lost. Ha’ you any money?
Bellafront
’Las, I ha’ none.
Mattheo
Must have money, must have some, must have a 1320cloak and rapier and things. Will you go set your lime-twigs and get me some birds, some money?
Bellafront
What lime-twigs should I set?
Mattheo
You will not, then? Must have cash and pictures. Do ye hear, frailty? Shall I walk in a Plymouth cloak, 1325that’s to say like a rogue, in my hose and doublet, and a crab-tree cudgel in my hand, and you swim in your satins? Must have money, come!
[Taking off her gown.]
Orlando
Is’t bedtime, master, that you undo my mistress?
Bellafront
Undo me? Yes, yes, at these riflings 1330I
Have been too often.
Mattheo
Help to flay, Pacheco.
Orlando
Flaying call you it?
Mattheo
[To Bellafront] I’ll pawn you, by th’Lord, to your very eyebrows.
Bellafront
With all my heart; since heaven will have me poor,
1335As good be drowned at sea as drowned at shore.
Orlando
Why, hear you, sir? I’faith, do not make away her gown.
Mattheo
O, it’s summer, it’s summer; your only fashion for a woman now is to be light, to be light.
1340Orlando
Why, pray, sir, employ some of that money you have of mine.
Mattheo
Thine? I’ll starve first, I’ll beg first; when I touch a penny of that, let these fingers’ ends rot.
Orlando
[Aside] So they may, for that’s past touching. I saw my 1345twenty pounds fly high.
Mattheo
Knowst thou never a damned broker about the city?
Orlando
Damned broker? Yes – five hundred.
Mattheo
The gown stood me in above twenty ducats; 1350borrow ten of it. Cannot live without silver.
Orlando
I’ll make what I can of it, sir; I’ll be your broker.
[Aside] But not your damned broker. O, thou scurvy knave!
What makes a wife turn whore but such a slave?
Exit [with Bellafront’s gown. She weeps.]
Mattheo
How now, little chick? What ailst? Weeping 1355for a handful of tailor’s shreds? Pox on them! Are there not silks enough at mercer’s?
Bellafront
I care not for gay feathers, I.
Mattheo
What dost care for, then? Why dost grieve?
Bellafront
Why do I grieve? A thousand sorrows strike
1360At one poor heart, and yet it lives. Mattheo,
Thou art a gamester; prithee throw at all,
Set all upon one cast. We kneel and pray,
And struggle for life, yet must be cast away.
Meet misery quickly then, split all, sell all,
1365And when thou hast sold all, spend it. But, I beseech thee,
Build not thy mind on me to coin thee more.
To get it wouldst thou have me play the whore?
Mattheo
’Twas your profession before I married you.
Bellafront
Umh! It was, indeed: if all men should be branded
1370For sins long since laid up, who could be saved?
The quarter-day’s at hand; how will you do
To pay the rent, Mattheo?
Mattheo
Why, do as all of your occupation do against quarter-days: break up house, remove, shift your 1375lodgings. Pox o’your quarters!
Enter Lodovico.
Lodovico
Where’s this gallant?
Mattheo
Signor Lodovico! How does my little Mirror of Knighthood? This is kindly done, i’faith. Welcome, by my 1380troth.
Lodovico
And how dost, frolic? – Save you, fair lady. – Thou lookst smug and bravely, noble Mat.
Mattheo
Drink and feed, laugh and lie warm.
Lodovico
Is this thy wife?
1385Mattheo
A poor gentlewoman, sir, whom I make use of a-nights.
Lodovico
Pay custom to your lips, sweet lady.
[He kisses her.]
Mattheo
[Aside to her] Borrow some shells of him. [Aloud] Some wine, sweetheart.
1390Lodovico
I’ll send for’t then, i’faith.
Mattheo
You send for’t? [To Bellafront] Some wine, I prithee.
Bellafront
[Aside to him] I ha’ no money.
Mattheo
[Aside to her] ’Sblood, nor I. [Aloud] What wine love you, signor?
Lodovico
[Giving money to Bellafront]
Here; or I’ll not stay, I protest. Trouble the 1395gentlewoman too much?
Exit Bellafront.
And what news flies abroad, Mattheo?
Mattheo
Troth, none. O, signor, we ha’ been merry in our days!
Lodovico
And no doubt shall again. 1400The divine powers
Never shoot darts at mortal men to kill them.
Mattheo
You say true.
Lodovico
Why should we grieve at want? Say the world made thee
Her minion, that 1405thy head lay in her lap,
And that she danced thee on her wanton knee,
She could but give thee a whole world. That’s all,
And that all’s nothing; the world’s greatest part
Cannot fill up one corner of thy heart.
Say the three corners were all filled; alas,
1410Of what art thou possessed? A thin-blown glass
Such as by boys is puffed into the air.
Were twenty kingdoms thine, thou’dst live in care:
Thou couldst not sleep the better nor live longer,
Nor merrier be, nor healthfuller, nor stronger.
1415If, then, thou wantst, thus make that want thy pleasure;
No man wants all things, nor has all in measure.
Mattheo
I am the most wretched fellow; sure some left-handed priest christened me, I am so unlucky. I am never out of one puddle or another, still falling.
1420Enter Bellafront [with wine], and Orlando.
[To her] Fill out wine to my little finger. [To Lodovico] With my heart, i’faith.
[He drinks.]
Lodovico
Thanks, good Mattheo. To your own sweet self. [He drinks.]
1425Orlando
[Aside to Mattheo] All the brokers’ hearts, sir, are made of flint. I can with all my knocking strike but six sparks of fire out of them. Here’s six ducats, if you’ll take them.
Mattheo
[Aside to him] Give me them. [Taking money] An evil conscience gnaw them all! Moths and plagues hang upon their lousy wardrobes!
1430Lodovico
Is this your man, Mattheo? An old servingman?
Orlando
You may give me t’other half too, sir – that’s the beggar.
Lodovico
[To Mattheo] What hast there? Gold?
Mattheo
A sort of rascals are in my debt God knows 1435what, and they feed me with bits, with crumbs. A pox choke them!
Lodovico
A word, Mattheo. Be not angry with me.
Believe it that I know the touch of time
And can part copper, though it be gilded o’er,
1440From the true gold. The sails which thou dost spread
Would show well if they were not borrowèd.
The sound of thy low fortunes drew me hither;
I give myself unto thee – prithee use me.
I will bestow on you a suit of satin
1445And all things else to fit a gentleman,
Because I love you.
Mattheo
Thanks, good, noble knight.
Lodovico
Call on me when you please. Till then, farewell.
Exit.
1450Mattheo
[To Bellafront] Hast angled? Hast cut up this fresh salmon?
Bellafront
Wouldst have me be so base?
Mattheo
It’s base to steal, it’s base to be a whore.
Thou’t be more base: I’ll make thee keep a door.
Exit.
Orlando
I hope he will not sneak away with all the money, 1455will he?
Bellafront
Thou seest he does.
Orlando
Nay, then, it’s well I set my brains upon an upright last. Though my wits be old, yet they are like a withered pippin, wholesome. Look you, mistress, I told him I had but six 1460ducats of the knave broker, but I had eight, and kept these two for you.
[He gives her money.]
Bellafront
Thou shouldst have given him all.
Orlando
What, to fly high?
Bellafront
Like waves, my misery drives on misery.
Exit.
1465Orlando
Sell his wife’s clothes from her back? Does any poulterer’s wife pull chickens alive? He riots all abroad, wants all at home; he dices, whores, swaggers, swears, cheats, borrows, pawns. I’ll give him hook and line a little more for all this;
1470Yet sure i’th’ end he’ll delude all my hopes,
And show me a French trick danced on the ropes.
Exit.