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Escal. How know you that ?
Elb. My wife, sir, whom I detest ?' before heaven and your honour,
Escal. How! thy wife ?
Elb. Ay, sir ; whom, I thank Heaven, is an honest woman,
Escal. Dost thou detest her therefore ?
Elb. I say, sir, I will detest myself also, as well as she, that this house, if it be not a bawd's house, it is pity of her life, for it is a naughty house.
Escal. How dost thou know that, constable ?
Elb. Marry, sir, by my wife; who, if she had been a woman cardinally given, might have been accus'd in fornication, adultery, and all uncleanliness there.
Escal. By the woman's means ?
Elb. Ay, sir, by mistress Over-done's means: but as she spit in his face, so she defied him.
Clo. Sir, if it please your honour, this is not so.
Elb. Prove it before these varlets here, thou honourable man; prove it.
Escal. (TO ANG.) Do you hear how he misplaces?
Clo. Sir, she came in great with child; and longing (saving your honour's reverence) for stewd prunes: sir, we had but two in the house, which at that very distant " time stood, as it were, in a fruitdish, a dish of some three-pence : your honours have seen such dishes; they are not China dishes, but very good dishes.
houses were bagnios supplied with vapour-baths; but under this name other accommodations were often furnished. - Parcel-bawd, a few lines before, probably means partly bawd, alluding to his umiting the two offices of pimp and tapster. So, in 2 Henry IV. Act i. sc. 2, we have “parcel-gilt goblet,” for partly gilt.
10 Detest is an Elbowism for protest.
11 The Clown, catching the constable's trick of speech, here ases distant as an Elbowism for instant.
Escal. Go to, go to: no matter for the dish, sir.
Clo. No, indeed, sir, not of a pin; you are therein in the right: but, to the point: As I say,
this mistress Elbow, being, as I say, with child, and being great-bellied, and longing, as I said, for prunes; and having but two in the dish, as I said, master Froth here, this very man, having eaten the rest, as I said, and, as I say, paying for them very
honestly; -— for, as you know, master Froth, I could not give you three-pence again.
Froth. No, indeed.
Clo. Very well: you being then, if you be remember'd, cracking the stones of the foresaid prunes.
Froth. Ay, so I did, indeed.
Clo. Why, very well : I telling you then, if you be remember'd, that such a one, and such a one, were past cure of the thing you wot of, unless they kept very good diet, as I told you.
Froth. All this is true.
Escal. Come, you are a tedious fool: to the pur. pose :
What was done to Elbow's wife, that he hath cause to complain of ? Come we to what was done to her.
Clo. Sir, your honour cannot come to that yet. Escal. No, sir, nor I mean it not.
Clo. Sir, but you shall come to it, by your honour's leave : And, I beseech you, look into master Froth here, sir; a man of fourscore pound a year; whose father died at Hallowmas : - Was't not at Hallowmas, master Froth ?
Froth. All-hollownd eve.12
? All-Hollownd Eve, the Eve of All Saints' day
He, sir, sitting, as I say, in a lower 13 chair, sir ; 'twas in the Bunch of Grapes," where, indeed, you kave a delight to sit, have you not ?
Froth. I have so; because it is an open room, and good for winter.
Clo. Why, very well then: -I hope here be truths.
Ang. This will last out a night in Russia, When nights are longest there : I'll take my leave, And leave you to the hearing of the cause ; Hoping you'll find good cause to whip them all. Escal. I think no less : Good morrow to your lordship.
[Exit ANGELO. Now, sir, come on : What was done to Elbow's wife, once more ?
Clo. Once, sir ? there was nothing done to her once.
Elb. I beseech you, sir, ask him what this man did to my wife.
Clo. I beseech your honour, ask me.
Clo. I beseech you, sir, look in this gentleman's face:
Good master Froth, look upon his honour, ’tis for a good purpose : Doth your honour mark his face?
Escal. Ay, sir, very well.
harm in his face? Escal. Why, no.
Clo. I'll be suppos'd upon a book, his face is the worst thing about him : Good then ; if his face be
13 Every house had formerly what was called a low chair, e. signed for the ease of sick people, and occasionally occupied by lazy ones.
14 Such names were often given to rooms in the Poet's time. Thus in the Will of Henry Harte, we read of a “chamber called be Half-moon "
the worst thing about him, how could master Froth do the constable's wife any harm ? I would know
honour ? Escal. He's in the right : Constable, what say
that of your
you to it ?
Elb. First, an it like you, the house is a respected house : next, this is a respected fellow; and his mistress is a respected woman.
Clo. By this hand, sir, his wife is a more respected person
of us all. Elb. Varlet, thuu liest ; thou liest, wicked varlet : the time is yet to come, that she was ever respected with man, woman, or child.
Clo. Sir, she was respected with him before he married with her.
Escal. Which is the wiser here, Justice, or Iniquity ? 16 Is this true ?
Elb. O thou caitiff! O thou varlet! O thou wicked Hannibal ! I respected with her, before I was married to her ? If ever I was respected with her, or she with me, let not your worship think me the poor Duke's officer : Prove this, thou wicked Han nibal, or I'll have mine action of battery on thee.
Escal. If he took you a box o’the ear, you might have your
action of slander too. Elb. Marry, I thank your good worship for it : What is't your worship's pleasure I shall do with this wicked caitiff?
Escal. Truly, officer, because he has some offences in him, that thou wouldst discover if thou couldst, let him continue in his courses till thou know'st what they are.
Elb. Marry, I thank your worship for it:- Thou seest thou wicked varlet now, what's come upon
16 That is, the prosecutor or the criminal.
thee : thou art to continue now, thou varlet; thou art to continue.
Escul. Where were you born, friend ?
Escal. Nine ! - Come hither to me, master Froth. Master Froth, I would not have you acquainted with tapsters ; they will draw you, master Froth, and you will hang them: Get you gone, and let me hear no more of you.
Froth. I thank your worship: for mine own part, I never come into any room in a taphouse, but I am drawn in.
Escal. Well; no more of it, master Froth : farewell. [Exit FROTH.] — Come you hither to me, master tapster: What's your name, master tapster ?
so that, in the beastliest sense, you are Pompey the great. Pompey, you are partly a bawd, Pompey, howsoever you colour it in being a tapster. Are you not ? come, iell me true: it shall be the
about you :
better for you.
16 The breeches were formerly worn very large about the hips, and perhaps Pompey went beyond the fashion.