601.1[2.1]
Enter Bellafront and Mattheo.
Bellafront
O my sweet husband, wert thou in thy grave
And art alive again? O, welcome, welcome!
605Mattheo
Dost know me? [Giving her his cloak] My cloak, prithee, lay’t up. Yes, faith, my winding-sheet was taken out of lavender, to be stuck with rosemary. I lacked but the knot here or here. Yet if I had had it, I should ha’ made a wry mouth at the world like a plaice. But, sweetest villain, I am here now, and 610I will talk with thee soon.
Bellafront
And glad am I thou’rt here.
Mattheo
Did these heels caper in shackles? Ah, my little plump rogue, I’ll bear up for all this, and fly high. Catso, catso!
615Bellafront
Mattheo –
Mattheo
What sayst, what sayst? O brave fresh air! A pox on these grates, and jingling of keys, and rattling of iron. I’ll bear up, I’ll fly high, wench. Hang? Toss!
Bellafront
Mattheo, prithee make thy prison thy glass,
620And in it view the wrinkles and the scars
By which thou wert disfigured. Viewing them, mend them.
Mattheo
I’ll go visit all the mad rogues now, and the good roaring boys.
Bellafront
Thou dost not hear me?
625Mattheo
Yes, faith, do I.
Bellafront
Thou hast been in the hands of misery,
And ta’en strong physic. Prithee, now be sound.
Mattheo
Yes. ’Sfoot, I wonder how the inside of a tavern looks now. O, when shall I bezzle, bezzle?
630Bellafront
Nay, see, thou’rt thirsty still for poison! Come,
I will not have thee swagger.
Mattheo
Honest ape’s face!
Bellafront
’Tis that sharpened an axe to cut thy throat.
Good love, I would not have thee sell thy substance
635And time, worth all, in those damned shops of hell,
Those dicing-houses, that stand never well
But when they stand most ill; that four-squared sin
Has almost lodged us in the beggar’s inn.
Besides – to speak which even my soul does grieve –
640A sort of ravens have hung upon thy sleeve
And fed upon thee. Good Mat, if you please,
Scorn to spread wing amongst so base as these;
By them thy fame is speckled, yet it shows
Clear amongst them. So crows are fair with crows.
645Custom in sin gives sin a lovely dye;
Blackness in Moors is no deformity.
Mattheo
Bellafront, Bellafront, I protest to thee, I swear, as I hope for my soul, I will turn over a new leaf. The prison, I confess, has bit me; the best man that sails in such a ship 650may be lousy.
[Knocking within.]
Bellafront
One knocks at door.
Mattheo
I’ll be the porter. They shall see a jail cannot hold a brave spirit – I’ll fly high!
Exit.
Bellafront
How wild is his behaviour! O, I fear
655He’s spoiled by prison; he’s half damned comes there.
But I must sit all storms. When a full sail
His fortunes spread, he loved me; being now poor,
I’ll beg for him. And no wife can do more.
Enter Matteo, and Orlando like a Servingman.
660Mattheo
Come in, pray. Would you speak with me, sir?
Orlando
Is your name Signor Mattheo?
Mattheo
My name is Signor Mattheo.
Orlando
Is this gentlewoman your wife, sir?
Mattheo
This gentlewoman is my wife, sir.
665Orlando
The destinies spin a strong and even thread of both your loves! [Aside] The mother’s own face; I ha’ not forgot that. [He weeps.] I’m an old man, sir, and am troubled with a whoreson salt rheum, that I cannot hold my water. – Gentlewoman, the last man I served was your father.
670Bellafront
My father? Any tongue that sounds his name
Speaks music to me. Welcome, good old man.
How does my father? Lives he? Has he health?
How does my father? I so much do shame him,
So much do wound him, that I scarce dare name him.
675Orlando
[Weeping.] I can speak no more.
Mattheo
How now, old lad? What, dost cry?
Orlando
The rheum still, sir, nothing else. I should be well seasoned, for mine eyes lie in brine. Look you, sir, I have a suit to you.
680Mattheo
What is’t, my little white pate?
Orlando
Troth, sir, I have a mind to serve your worship.
Mattheo
To serve me? Troth, my friend, my fortunes are, as a man may say –
Orlando
Nay, look you, sir. I know when all sins are old 685in us, and go upon crutches, that covetousness does but then lie in her cradle. ’Tis not so with me. Lechery loves to dwell in the fairest lodging, and covetousness in the oldest buildings, that are ready to fall; but my white head, sir, is no inn for such a gossip. If a servingman at my years 690be not stored with with biscuit enough, that has sailed about the world, to serve him the voyage out of his life, and to bring him east home, ill pity but all his days should be fasting days. I care not so much for wages, for I have scraped a handful of gold together. I have a little money, sir, which 695I would put into your worship’s hands, not so much to make it more –
Mattheo
No, no, you say well, thou sayst well. But I must tell you – how much is the money, sayst thou?
Orlando
About twenty pound, sir.
700Mattheo
Twenty pound? Let me see; that shall bring thee in, after ten per centum per annum
Orlando
No, no, no, sir, no; I cannot abide to have money engender. Fie upon this silver lechery, fie! If I may have meat to my mouth, and rags to my back, and a flock-bed 705to snort upon, when I die the longer liver take all.
Mattheo
A good old boy, i’faith! If thou serv’st me, thou shalt eat as I eat, drink as I drink, lie as I lie, and ride as I ride.
Orlando
[Aside] That’s if you have money to hire horses.
Mattheo
Front, what dost thou think on’t? This good old 710lad here shall serve me.
Bellafront
Alas, Mattheo, wilt thou load a back
That is already broke?
Mattheo
[Aside to her] Peace, pox on you, peace! There’s a trick in’t. I fly high. It shall be so, Front, as I tell you. [Aloud to Orlando] Give me thy hand; 715thou shalt serve me, i’faith. Welcome. As for your money –
Orlando
Nay, look you, sir, I have it here.
Mattheo
Pish, keep it thyself, man, and then thou’rt sure ’tis safe.
Orlando
Safe? An ’twere ten thousand ducats your worship 720should be my cash-keeper. I have heard what your worship is – [Aside] An excellent dunghill cock, to scatter all abroad! – But I’ll venture twenty pounds on’s head.
[Gives him the money.]
Mattheo
And didst thou serve my worshipful father-in-law, Signor Orlando Frescobaldo, that madman, once?
725Orlando
I served him so long till he turned me out of doors.
Mattheo
It’s a notable chuff; I ha’ not seen him many a day.
Orlando
No matter an you ne’er see him; it’s an arrant grandee, a churl, and as damned a cut-throat –
Bellafront
Thou villain, curb thy tongue! Thou art a Judas,
730To sell thy master’s name to slander thus.
Mattheo
[To her] Away, ass! He speaks but truth. Thy father is a –
Bellafront
Gentleman.
Mattheo
And an old knave. There’s more deceit in him than in sixteen ’pothecaries. It’s a devil! Thou mayst beg, starve, 735hang, damn – does he send thee so much as a cheese?
Orlando
Or so much as a gammon of bacon? He’ll give it his dogs first.
Mattheo
A javel, a javel.
Orlando
A Jew, a Jew, sir.
740Mattheo
A dog.
Orlando
An English mastiff, sir.
Mattheo
Pox rot out his old stinking garbage!
Bellafront
[To him] Art not ashamed to strike an absent man thus?
Art not ashamed to let this vild dog bark,
745And bite my father thus? I’ll not endure it.
[To Orland] Out of my doors, base slave!
Mattheo
Your doors? A vengeance! I shall live to cut that old rogue’s throat, for all you take his part thus.
Orlando
[Aside] He shall live to see thee hanged first.
750Enter Hippolito.
Mattheo
Godso, my lord, your lordship is most welcome.
I’m proud of this, my lord.
Hippolito
Was bold to see you.
Is that your wife?
755Mattheo
Yes, sir.
Hippolito
I’ll borrow her lip.
Mattheo
With all my heart, my lord.
[Hippolito kisses Bellafront and takes her aside.]
Orlando
Who’s this, I pray, sir?
Mattheo
My lord Hippolito. What’s thy name?
760Orlando
Pacheco.
Mattheo
Pacheco? Fine name! Thou seest, Pacheco, I keep company with no scoundrels, nor base fellows.
Hippolito
[Aside to Bellafront] Came not my footman to you?
Bellafront
Yes, my Lord.
765Hippolito
I sent by him a diamond and a letter;
Did you receive them?
Bellafront
Yes my lord, I did.
Hippolito
Read you the letter?
Bellafront
O’er and o’er ’tis read.
770Hippolito
And, faith, your answer?
Bellafront
Now the time’s not fit;
You see my husband’s here.
Hippolito
I’ll now then leave you,
And choose mine hour. But ere I part away,
775Hark you, remember I must have no nay.
[Aloud] Mattheo, I will leave you.
Mattheo
A glass of wine?
Hippolito
Not now, I’ll visit you at other times.
You’re come off well, then?
780Mattheo
Excellent well, I thank your lordship. I owe you my life, my lord, and will pay my best blood in any service of yours.
Hippolito
I’ll take no such dear payment. Hark you, Mattheo, I know the prison is a gulf. If money run low with you, 785my purse is yours; call for it.
Mattheo
Faith, my lord, I thank my stars they send me down some. I cannot sink so long as these bladders hold.
Hippolito
I will not see your fortunes ebb. Pray try;
To starve in full barns were fond modesty.
790Mattheo
[To Orlando] Open the door, sirrah.
Hippolito
[Aside to Orlando at the door] Drink this [Giving him money]; and anon I pray thee give thy mistress this [Giving him a purse].
Exit.
Orlando
[Aside] O noble spirit! If no worse guests here dwell,
My blue coat sits on my old shoulders well.
795Mattheo
The only royal fellow! He’s bounteous as the Indies. What’s that he said to thee, Bellafront?
Bellafront
Nothing.
Mattheo
I prithee, good girl –
Bellafront
Why, I tell you – nothing.
800Mattheo
Nothing? It’s well. Tricks! That I must be beholden to a scald, hot-livered, goatish gallant to stand with my cap in my hand, and vail bonnet, when I ha’ spread as lofty sails as himself! Would I had been hanged. Nothing? – Pacheco, brush my cloak.
805Orlando
Where is’t, sir?
Mattheo
Come, we’ll fly high.
[To Bellafront] Nothing? There is a whore still in thine eye.
Exit.
Orlando
[Aside] My twenty pounds fly high! O wretched woman,
This varlet’s able to make Lucrece common.
810[Aloud] How now, mistress? Has my master dyed you into this sad colour?
Bellafront
Fellow, begone, I pray thee. If thy tongue
Itch after talk so much, seek out thy master;
Thou’rt a fit instrument for him.
815Orlando
Zounds, I hope he will not play upon me.
Bellafront
Play on thee? No, you two will fly together,
Because you are roving arrows of one feather.
Would thou wouldst leave my house! Thou ne’er shalt please me;
Weave thy nets ne’er so high,
820Thou shalt be but a spider in mine eye.
Thou’rt rank with poison. Poison tempered well
Is food for health; but thy black tongue doth swell
With venom, to hurt him that gave thee bread.
To wrong men absent is to spurn the dead;
825And so didst thou thy master and my father.
Orlando
You have small reason to take his part, for I have heard him say five hundred times you were as arrant a whore as ever stiffened tiffany neckcloths in water-starch upon a Saturday i’th’ afternoon.
830Bellafront
Let him say worse! When, for the earth’s offence,
Hot vengeance through the marble clouds is driven,
Is’t fit earth shoot again those darts at heaven?
Orlando
And so, if your father call you whore, you’ll not call him old knave. [Aside] Frescobaldo, she carries thy mind up and 835down; she’s thine own flesh, blood, and bone. [Aloud] Troth, mistress, to tell you true, the fireworks that ran from me upon lines against my good old master, your father, were but to try how my young master, your husband, loved such squibs. But it’s well known I love your father as myself. I’ll ride 840for him at midnight, run for you by owl-light; I’ll die for him, drudge for you; I’ll fly low, and I’ll fly high (as my master says), to do you good, if you’ll forgive me.
Bellafront
I am not made of marble; I forgive thee.
Orlando
Nay, if you were made of marble, a good 845stone-cutter might cut you. I hope the twenty pound I delivered to my master is in a sure hand.
Bellafront
In a sure hand, I warrant thee, for spending.
Orlando
I see my young master is a madcap and a bonus socius. I love him well, mistress. Yet, as well as I love him, I’ll not 850play the knave with you. Look you, I could cheat you of this purse full of money; but I am an old lad, and I scorn to cony-catch. Yet I ha’ been dog at a cony in my time.
[He gives her the purse.]
Bellafront
A purse! Where hadst it?
Orlando
The gentleman that went away whispered in mine 855ear and charged me to give it you.
Bellafront
The lord Hippolito?
Orlando
Yes, if he be a lord; he gave it me.
Bellafront
’Tis all gold.
Orlando
’Tis like so. It may be he thinks you want money, 860and therefore bestows his alms bravely, like a lord.
Bellafront
He thinks a silver net can catch the poor;
Here’s bait to choke a nun and turn her whore.
Wilt thou be honest to me?
Orlando
As your nails to your fingers, which I think 865never deceived you.
Bellafront
Thou to this lord shalt go. Commend me to him,
And tell him this: the town has held out long
Because within ’twas rather true than strong.
To sell it now were base; say ’tis no hold
870Built of weak stuff, to be blown up with gold.
He shall believe thee by this token, or this;
If not, by this.
[She gives him Hippolito’s purse, diamond ring, and letter.]
Orlando
Is this all?
Bellafront
This is all.
Orlando
[Aside] Mine own girl still!
875Bellafront
A star may shoot, not fall.
Exit Bellafront.
Orlando
A star? Nay, thou art more than the moon, for thou hast neither changing quarters nor a man standing in thy circle with a bush of thorns. Is’t possible the lord Hippolito, whose face is as civil as the outside of a 880dedicatory book, should be a mutton-monger? A poor man has but one ewe, and this grandee sheep-biter leaves whole flocks of fat wethers whom he may knock down, to devour this! I’ll trust neither lord nor butcher with quick flesh for this trick. The cuckoo, I see now, sings all 885the year, though every man cannot hear him. But I’ll spoil his notes. Can neither love-letters nor the devil’s common picklocks, gold nor precious stones, make my girl draw up her portcullis? Hold out still, wench!
All are not bawds, I see now, that keep doors,
890Nor all good wenches that are marked for whores.
Exit.