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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 Angelo.] Do you hear how he misplaces ?
Clo. Sir, she came in great with child, and longing (saving your honour's reverence) for stew'd prunes : sir, we had but two in the house, which at that very distant time stood, as it were, in a fruit-dish, a dish of some three-pence: your honours have seen such dishes; they are not China dishes, but very good dishes.
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 belly'd, 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. Clo. Why, very well then. Escal. Come; you are a tedious fool : to the purpose. - What was done to Elbow's wife, that he hath cause to complain of? Come me to what was done to her.
Clo. Sir, your honour cannot come to that yet.
5 Why, very well : I TELLING you then,] Malone has it “ I tell you then," in opposition to all the authorities. The Clown is referring to what is past, and to what he had formerly told Froth,
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-hallownd eve.
Clo. Why, very well: I hope here be truths. He, sir, sitting, as I say, in a lower chair, sir;—twas in the Bunch of Grapes, where, indeed, you have 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 Jordship.
[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
Clo. I beseech your honour, ask me.
Escal. Ay, sir, very well.
Clo. I'll be supposed upon a book, his face is the worst thing about him. Good then; if his face be the worst thing about him, how could master Froth do the constable's wife any harm? I would know that of your honour.
Escal. He's in the right. Constable, what say 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 than any of us all.
Elb. Varlet, thou 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 Iniquityø? - 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 Hannibal, or I'll have mine action of battery on thee.
Escal. If he took you a box o'th' 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 hath some offences in him, that thou wouldst discover if thou couldst, let him continue in his courses, till thou know'st what they are.
EU. Marry, I thank your worship for it.—Thou seest,
JUSTICE, or IniQUITY ?] Justice and Iniquity were both characters in the ancient Miracle-plays and Moralities. In the “ Interlude of King Darius ” the Vice is expressly called “Iniquity," but he went by various appellations. Iniquity was not always the Vice or Fool of the elder stage, but a distinct character, for in “ Histriomastix,” 1610, the following stage-direction occurs : “ Enter a roaring Devil with the Vice on his back, Iniquity in one hand, and Juventus in the other.” Juventus was the hero of “ Lusty Juventus,” by R. Wever.
" I shall do with this wicked caitiff !] Malone, Steevens, and all the modern editors read should instead of “shall,” as we find it in the first and other folios.
thou wicked varlet now, what's come upon thee: thou art to continue; now, thou varlet, thou art to continue.
Escal. 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 ?
Escal. "Troth, and your bum is the greatest thing about you 8; 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, tell me true: it shall be the better
8 Troth, and your bum is the greatest thing about you ;] Escalus refers to the ridiculous practice, among both sexes, of stuffing the dress of the hinder parts of their persons with horse-hair, wool, or some other material of the same kind. This custom is referred to by many writers of the time of Shakespeare. Steevens asserts that it commenced early in the reign of Elizabeth, but it would not be difficult to show that it prevailed before she came to the throne.
Clo. Truly, sir, I am a poor fellow that would live.
Escal. How would you live, Pompey? by being a bawd? What do you think of the trade, Pompey? is it a lawful trade?
Clo. If the law would allow it, sir.
Escal. But the law will not allow it, Pompey; nor it shall not be allowed in Vienna.
Clo. Does your worship mean to geld and spay all the youth of the city o?
Escal. No, Pompey.
Clo. Truly, sir, in my poor opinion, they will to't then. If your worship will take order for the drabs and the knaves, you need not to fear the bawds.
Escal. There are pretty orders beginning, I can tell you: it is but heading and hanging.
Clo. If you head and hang all that offend that way but for ten year together, you'll be glad to give out a commission for more heads. If this law hold in Vienna ten year, I'll rent the fairest house in it after three pence a bay! If you live to see this come to pass, say, Pompey told you so.
Escal. Thank you, good Pompey; and, in requital of your prophecy, hark you :-I advise you, let me not find you before me again upon any complaint whatsoever ; no, not for dwelling where you do: if I do, Pompey, I shall beat you to your tent, and prove a shrewd Cæsar to you. In plain dealing, Pompey, I shall have you whipt. So, for this time, Pompey, fare
Clo. I thank your worship for your good counsel, but I shall follow it, as the flesh and fortune shall better determine.
the youth of the city ?] Malone, Steevens, Capell, &c. read “ in the city," following the second folio. No change is necessary.
1 Three pence a Bay.] Johnson and Steevens were both puzzled by this expression, though the former admits that he has heard of “ a bay of building" in many parts of England. Coles' Dictionary, 1677, explains it at once :—“a bay of building-mensura riginti quatuor pedum,” referring, no doubt, to the frontage. I owe this note to the Rev. H. Barry, of Draycot.