The Honest Whore, [Part Two]
1[1.1]
Enter at one door Beraldo, Carolo, Fontinell, [and] Astolfo, with Servingmen or Pages attending on them. At another door, enter Lodovico, meeting them.
5Lodovico
Good day, gallants.
Other Gentlemen
Good morrow, sweet Lodovico.
Lodovico
How dost thou, Carolo?
Carolo
Faith, as physicians do 10in a plague: see the world sick, and am well myself.
Fontinell
Here’s a sweet morning, gentlemen.
Lodovico
O, a morning to tempt Jove from his ningle Ganymede, which is but to give dairy-wenches green gowns as 15they are going a-milking. [To Astolfo] What, is thy lord stirring yet?
Astolfo
Yes; he will not be horsed this hour, sure.
Beraldo
My lady swears he shall, for she longs to be at court.
Carolo
O, we shall ride switch and spur. Would we 20were there once!
Enter Brian, the [Irish] footman.
Lodovico
[To Brian] How now, is thy lord ready?
Brian
No, so Crees sa’ me; my lady will have some little ting in her pelly first.
25Carolo
O, then they’ll to breakfast.
Lodovico
Footman, does my lord ride i’th’ coach with my lady, or on horseback?
Brian
No, foot, la; my lady will have me lord sheet wid her. My lord will sheet in de one side, and my lady sheet 30in de toder side.
Exit.
Lodovico
‘My lady sheet in de toder side’! Did you ever hear a rascal talk so like a pagan? Is’t not strange that a fellow of his star should be seen here so long in Italy, yet speak so from a Christian?
35Enter Antonio Giorgio, a poor scholar. [He stands apart.]
Astolfo
An Irishman in Italy! That so strange? Why, the nation have running heads.
Exchange walk.
Lodovico
Nay, Carolo, this is more strange: I ha’ been in France – there’s few of them. Marry, England they count a warm 40chimney-corner, and there they swarm like crickets to the crevice of a brew-house. But, sir, in England I have noted one thing.
Other Gentlemen
What’s that? What’s that of England?
Lodovico
Marry, this, sir – [Indicating Antonio] What’s he yonder?
45Beraldo
A poor fellow would speak with my lord.
Lodovico
In England, sir – troth, I ever laugh when I think on’t: to see a whole nation should be marked i’th’ forehead, as a man may say, with one iron – why, sir, there all costermongers are Irishmen.
50Carolo
O, that’s to show their antiquity, as coming from Eve who was an apple-wife; and they take after the mother.
Other Gentlemen
[Laughing] Good, good! Ha, ha!
Lodovico
Why, then, should all your chimney-sweepers 55likewise be Irishmen? Answer that, now; come, your wit!
Carolo
Faith, that’s soon answered; for Saint Patrick, you know, keeps purgatory. He makes the fire, and his countrymen could do nothing if they cannot sweep the chimneys.
60Other Gentlemen
Good again!
Lodovico
Then, sir, you have many of them, like this fellow (especially those of his hair), footmen to noblemen and others. And the knaves are very faithful where they love, by my faith – very proper men, many of them, and as active as 65the clouds: whirr, ha!
Other Gentlemen
Are they so?
Lodovico
And stout! Exceeding stout. Why, I warrant this precious wild villain, if he were put to’t, would fight more desperately than sixteen Dunkirks.
70Astolfo
The women, they say, are very fair.
Lodovico
No, no, our country buona-robas – O! – are the sugarest delicious rogues.
Astolfo
O, look, he has a feeling of them!
Lodovico
Not I, I protest. There’s a saying when they 75commend nations. It goes: the Irishman for his hand, the Welshman for a leg, the Englishman for a face, and Dutchman for a beard –
Fontinell
I’faith, they may make swabbers of them.
Lodovico
The Spaniard – let me see – for a little foot, I take it; the 80Frenchman – what a-pox hath he? And so the rest. Are they at breakfast yet? Come, walk.
Astolfo
[Talking apart to his companions] This Lodovico is a notable-tongued fellow.
Fontinell
Discourses well.
Beraldo
And a very honest gentleman.
85Astolfo
O, he’s well valued by my lord.
Enter Bellafront with a petition.
Fontinell
[To his companions] How now, how now, what’s she?
Beraldo
Let’s make towards her.
Bellafront
[To Astolfo] Will it be long, sir, ere my lord come forth?
90Astolfo
[To her] Would you speak with my lord?
Lodovico
[To her, indicating the petition] How now, what’s this? A nurse’s bill? Hath any here got thee with child, and now will not keep it?
Bellafront
No, sir, my business is unto my lord.
Lodovico
He’s about his own wife’s now; he’ll hardly 95despatch two causes in a morning.
Astolfo
No matter what he says, fair lady, he’s a knight; there’s no hold to be taken at his words.
Fontinell
My lord will pass this way presently.
[Bellafront stands aside.]
Beraldo
[Talking apart to the other Gentlemen] A pretty, plump rogue.
100Astolfo
A good lusty, bouncing baggage.
Beraldo
[To Lodovico] Do you know her?
Lodovico
A pox on her! I was sure her name was in my table-book once. I know not of what cut her die is now, but she has been more common than tobacco. This is she that had 105the name of ‘The Honest Whore’.
Other Gentlemen
Is this she?
Lodovico
This is the blackamoor that by washing was turned white; this is the birding-piece new scoured; this is she that – if any of her religion can be saved – was saved by my 110lord Hippolito.
Astolfo
She has been a goodly creature.
Lodovico
‘She has been’! That’s the epitaph of all whores. I’m well acquainted with the poor gentleman her husband. Lord, what fortunes that man has overreached! She knows 115not me, yet I have been in her company; I scarce know her, for the beauty of her cheek hath, like the moon, suffered strange eclipses since I beheld it. But women are like medlars – no sooner ripe but rotten.
A woman last was made, but is spent first;
120Yet man is oft proved in performance worst.
Other Gentlemen
My lord is come.
Enter Hippolito, Infelice, and two Waiting-women. [Lodovico greets Hippolito.]
Hippolito
We ha’ wasted half this morning! – Morrow, Lodovico.
Lodovico
[To Infelice] Morrow, madam.
125Hippolito
Let’s away to horse.
Other Gentlemen
Ay, ay, to horse, to horse.
Bellafront
[Approaching Hippolito] I do beseech your lordship, let your eye
Read o’re this wretched paper.
[She gives him the petition.]
Hippolito
I’m in haste;
Pray thee, good woman, take some apter time.
130Infelice
Good woman, do.
Bellafront
O, ’las! It does concern
A poor man’s life.
Hippolito
Life? [To Infelice] Sweetheart, seat yourself;
I’ll but read this and come.
[He reads the petition.]
Lodovico
[Aside to Infelice] What stockings have you put on this morning, 135madam? If they be not yellow, change them; that paper is a letter from some wench to your husband.
Infelice
O sir, that cannot make me jealous.
Exeunt [all but Hippolito, Bellafront, and Antonio].
Hippolito
[To Antonio] Your business, sir? To me?
Antonio
Yes, my good lord.
140Hippolito
Presently, sir. [To Bellafront] Are you Mattheo’s wife?
Bellafront
That most unfortunate woman.
Hippolito
I’m sorry
These storms are fallen on him. I love Mattheo,
And any good shall do him. He and I
Have sealed two bonds of friendship, which are strong
145In me, however fortune does him wrong.
He speaks here he’s condemned. Is’t so?
Bellafront
Too true.
Hippolito
What was he whom he killed? O, his name’s here:
Old Giacomo, son to the Florentine
Giacomo – a dog that to 150meet profit
Would to the very eyelids wade in blood
Of his own children!
Tell Mattheo the Duke my father hardly shall
Deny his signèd pardon. ’Twas fair fight, yes,
If rumour’s tongue go true; so writes he here.
Tomorrow morning I return from court;
155Pray be you here then. [To Antonio] I’ll have done, sir, straight. –
But in troth, say, are you Mattheo’s wife?
You have forgot me.
Bellafront
No, my lord.
Hippolito
Your turner,
160That made you smooth to run an even bias.
You know I loved you when your very soul
Was full of discord. Art not a good wench still?
Bellafront
Umph! When I had lost my way to heaven, you showed it;
I was newborn that day.
Enter Lodovico.
165Lodovico
’Sfoot, my lord, your lady asks if you have not left your wench yet. When you get in once, you never have done. Come, come, come, pay your old score and send her packing. Come.
Hippolito
Ride softly on before; I’ll o’ertake you.
170Lodovico
Your lady swears she’ll have no riding on before without ye.
Hippolito
Prithee, good Lodovico –
Lodovico
My lord, pray hasten.
Hippolito
I come.
[Exit Lodovico.]
[To Bellafront] Tomorrow let me see you. Fare you well.
175Commend me to Mattheo. – Pray, one word more:
Does not your father live about the court?
Bellafront
I think he does; but such rude spots of shame
Stick on my cheek that he scarce knows my name.
Hippolito
Orlando Frescobaldo, is’t not?
180Bellafront
Yes, my lord.
Hippolito
What does he for you?
Bellafront
All he should; when children
From duty start, parents from love may swerve.
He nothing does, for nothing I deserve.
185Hippolito
Shall I join him unto you, and restore you
To wonted grace?
Bellafront
It is impossible.
Hippolito
It shall be put to trial. Fare you well.
Exit Bellafront.
[Aside] The face I would not look on! Sure then ’twas rare,
190When in despite of grief ’tis still thus fair.
[To Antonio] Now, sir, your business with me?
Antonio
I am bold
To express my love and duty to your lordship
In these few leaves.
[He shows Hippolito a book.]
Hippolito
A book!
195Antonio
Yes, my good lord.
Hippolito
Are you a scholar?
Antonio
Yes, my lord, a poor one.
Hippolito
Sir you honour me.
Kings may be scholars’ patrons, but, faith, tell me:
200To how many hands besides hath this bird flown?
How many partners share with me?
Antonio
Not one,
In troth, not one; your name I held more dear.
I’m not, my lord, of that low character.
Hippolito
Your name, I pray?
205Antonio
Antonio Giorgio.
Hippolito
Of Milan?
Antonio
Yes, my lord.
Hippolito
I’ll borrow leave
To read you o’er, and then we’ll talk. Till then
[Giving him money]
210Drink up this gold. Good wits should love good wine;
This of your loves, the earnest that of mine.
Enter Brian.
[To Brian] How now, sir, where’s your lady? Not gone yet?
I fart dy Lady is run away from dee, a mighty 215deal of ground. She sent me back for dine own sweet face. I pray dee come, my lord, away; wu’t tow go now?
Hippolito
Is the coach gone? Saddle my horse, the sorrel.
A pox o’de horse’s nose! He is a lousy, rascally 220fellow. When I came to gird his belly, his scurvy guts rumbled; dy horse farted in my face, and dow knowst an Irishman cannot abide a fart. But I have saddled de hobby-horse; dy fine hobby is ready. I pray dee, my good sweet lord, wi’t tow go now, and I will run to de devil before dee?
225Hippolito
Well, sir. [To Antonio] I pray let’s see you, Master Scholar.
Come, I pray dee; wu’t come, sweet face? Go.
Exeunt