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Pet. With child, Nibrassa?
Nib. Foh! do not trick me off; I overheard your gabbling. Hark in thine ear, so is mine too. Pet. Alas, my lord, by whom?
Nib. Innocent! by whom? what an idle question is that? One cock hath trod both our hens. Ferentes, Ferentes, who else! how dost take it? methinks thou art wondrous patient; why, I am mad, stark mad.
Pet. How like you this, Colona? 'tis too true: Did not this man protest to be your husband?
Col. Ah me! to me he did.
Nib. What else, what else, Petruchio! and, madam, my quondam daughter, I hope he has past some huge words of matrimony to you too.
Jul. Alas! to me he did.
Nib. And how many more, the great Incubus of hell knows best. Petruchio, give me your hand; mine own daughter in this arm, and yours, Colona, in this :-there, there, sit ye down together. Never rise, as you hope to inherit our blessings, till you have plotted some brave revenge; think upon it to purpose, and you shall want no seconds to further it; be secret one to another. Come, Petruchio, let 'em alone; the wenches will demur on't, and, for the process, we'll give 'em courage.
Pet. You counsel wisely, I approve your plot;
Blount says, that summoned delinquents to a spiritual court.— These officers seem, from our dramatic poets, to have been a great terror to the waist-coaters of their days.
Think on your shames, and who it was that wrought 'em.
Nib. Aye, aye, aye, leave them alone: to work, wenches, to work! [Exeunt NIB. and PET.
Col. We are quite ruin'd.
Jul. True, Colona,
Betray'd to infamy, deceived, and mock'd,
Col. Hey-ho! and so am I;
But what shall's do now?
Jul. This with cunning words
First prove his love; he knows I am with child.
Jul. Now, by the stars,
He did the like to me, and said, 'twas well
Col. Those very words
He used to me, it fretted me to th' heart;
Jul. Peace! here's a noise, methinks. Let's rise; we'll take a time to talk of this. [They walk aside.
Enter FERENTES and MORONA.
Fer. Will you hold? death of my delights, have you lost all sense of shame? You were best roar about the court, that I have been your woman'sbarber, and trimm'd you, kind Morona.
Mor. Defiance to thy kindness! thou hast robb'd me of my good name; did'st promise to love none but me, me, only me: swor'st, like an unconscionable villain, to marry me the twelfth day of the month, two months since; did'st make my bed thine own, mine house thine own, mine, all and every thing, thine own: I will exclaim to the world on thee, and beg justice of the duke himself, villain! I will.
Fer. Yet again! nay, an if you be in that mood, shut up your fore-shop, I'll be your journeyman no longer. Why, wise madam Dry-fist, could your mouldy brain be so addle, to imagine I would marry a stale widow at six-and-forty? Marry gip! are there not varieties enough of thirteen? come, stop your clap-dish, or I'll purchase a carting for you. By this light, I have toiled more with this tough carrion hen, than with ten quails scarce grown into their first feathers.
Mor. O treason to all honesty or religion!Speak, thou perjured, damnable, ungracious defiler of women, who shall father my child which thou hast begotten?
Fer. Why, thee, country-woman; thou'st a larger purse to pay for the nursing. Nay, if you'll needs have the world know how you, reputed a
3 Come, stop your clap-dish.] Thus in Green's Tu Quoque— "Widow, hold your clapdish, fasten your tongue Under your roof, and do not dare to call."
For the word itself, see Jonson, v. i. p. 44.
grave, matron-like, motherly-madam, kick'd up your heels like a jennet whose mark is new come into her mouth, e'en do, do! the worst can be said of me is, that I was ill-advised to dig for gold in a coal-pit. Are you answer'd?
Jul. Let's fall amongst 'em.-[Comes forward with COL.]-Love-how is't, chick? ha? Col. My dear Ferentes, my betrothed lord. Fer. Excellent! oh, for three Barbary stonehorses to top three Flanders mares!-[Aside.]-Why, how now, wenches! what means this?
Mor. Out upon me! here's more of his trulls. Jul. Love, you must go with me.
Col. Good love, let's walk.
Fer. I must rid my hands of them, or they'll ride on my shoulders. By your leave, ladies; here's none but is of common counsel one with another; in short, there are three of ye with child, you tell me, by me; all of you I cannot satisfy, nor, indeed, handsomely any of you. You all hope I should marry you; which, for that it is impossible to be done, I am content to have neither of you: for your looking big on the matter, keep your own counsels, I'll not bewray ye; but for marriage,heaven bless you, and me from you! this is my
Col. How, not me!
Jul. Not me!
Mor. Not me!
Fer. Nor you, nor you, nor you; and to give you some satisfaction, I'll yield you reasons. You, Colona, had a pretty art in your dalliance, but your fault was, you were too suddenly won; you, madam Morona, could have pleased well enough some three or four-and-thirty years ago, but you are too old: you, Julia, were young enough; but your fault is, you have a scurvy face. Now, every one knowing her proper defect, thank me that I ever vouchsafed you the honour of my bed once in your lives. If you want clouts, all I'll promise, is to rip up an old shirt or two; so, wishing a speedy deliverance to all
I commend you to your patience.
your burdens, [Exit.
Jul. Notable !
Col. Unmatch'd villain!
Jul. Madam, though strangers, yet we understand
Your wrongs do equal ours; which to revenge, Please but to join with us, and we'll redeem Our loss of honour by a brave exploit.
Mor. I embrace your motion, ladies, with gladness, and will strive by any action to rank with you in any danger.
Col. Come, gentlewomen, let's together then. Thrice happy maids that never trusted men!