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Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall 10 :
Enter ELBOW, FROTH, Clown, Officers, 8c.
Elb. Come, bring them away: if these be good people in a common-weal, that do nothing but use their abuses in common houses, I know no law; bring them away.
Ang. How now, sir! What's your name? and what's the matter?
Elb. If it please your honour, I am the poor duke's constable, and my name is Elbow; I do lean upon justice, sir, and do bring in here before your good honour two notorious benefactors.
Ang. Benefactors ! Well; what benefactors are they? are they not malefactors?
Elb. If it please your honour, I know not well what they are: but precise villains they are, that I am sure of; and void of all profanation in the world, that good christians ought to have.
Escal. This comes off well 12, here's a wise officer.
10 This line is printed in Italics as a quotation in the first folio.
11 The first folio here reads- Some run from brakes of ice.' The correction was made by Rowe. Brakes most probably here signify thorny perplexities; but a brake was also used to signify a trap or snare. Thus in Skelton's Ellinour Rummin :
'It was a stale to take-the devil in a brake.' And in Holland's Leaguer, a Comedy, by Sb. Marmion-
-her I'll make A stale to catch this courtier in a brake.' There can be no allusion to the instrument of torture mentioned by Steevens. A brake seems to have signified an engine or instrument in general.
12 i. e. is well told. The meaning of this phrase, when se. riously applied to speech, is . This is well delivered,' this story is well told.' But in the present instance it is used ironically.
Ang. Go to: What quality are they of? Elbow is your name? Why dost thou not speak, Elbow?
Clo. He cannot, sir; he's out at elbow.
El. He, sir? a tapster, sir; parcel-bawd; one that serves a bad woman; whose house, sir, was, as they say, plucked down in the suburbs ;, and now she professes 13 a hot-house, which, I think, is a very
ill house too. Escal. How know you that ? Elb. My wife, sir, whom I detest 14 before heayour
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 accused 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. Do you hear how he misplaces?
[To ANGELO. Clo. Sir, she came in great with child; and longing (saving your honour's reverence), for stew'd
13 Professes a hot house, i. e. keeps a bagnio.
prunes 15: sir, we had but two in the house, which at that very distant time stood, as it were, in fruitdish, 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 cou'd not give you three pence again.
Froth. No, indeed.
be ber'd, cracking the stones of the aforesaid
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 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. 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;
15 A favourite dish, anciently common in brothels.
whose father died at Hallowmas :
-Was't not at Hallowmas, master Froth? Froth. All-hollond 16
eve. Clo. Why, very well; I hope here be truths : He, sir, sitting, as I say, in a lower 17 chair, sir ;'twas in the Bunch of Grapes, where, indeed, you have a delight to sit: Have
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. Escal. Well, sir: What did this gentleman to her?
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.
16 All hollond Eve, the Eve of All Saints' day.
17 Every house had formerly what was called a low chair, designed for the ease of sick people, and occasionally occupied by lazy ones.
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 Iniquity 18 ? 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. El). Marry, I thank your good worship for it: What is't your worship's pleasure I should 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
18 i. e. constable clown.