Esc. How do'st thou know that, Constable? Elb. Marry sir, by my wife, who, if she had bin a woman Cardinally giuen, might haue bin accus'd in fornication, adultery, and all vncleanlinesse there

Esc. By the womans meanes? Elb. I sir, by Mistris Ouerdons meanes: but as she spit in his face, so she defide him

Clo. Sir, if it please your honor, this is not so

Elb. Proue it before these varlets here, thou honorable man, proue it

Esc. Doe you heare how he misplaces? Clo. Sir, she came in great with childe: and longing (sauing your honors reuerence) for stewd prewyns; 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 haue seene such dishes) they are not China-dishes, but very good dishes

Esc. Go too: go too: no matter for the dish sir

Clo. No indeede sir not of a pin; you are therein in the right: but, to the point: As I say, this Mistris Elbow, being (as I say) with childe, and being great bellied, and longing (as I said) for prewyns: and hauing but two in the dish (as I said) Master Froth here, this very man, hauing eaten the rest (as I said) & (as I say) paying for them very honestly: for, as you know Master Froth, I could not giue you three pence againe

Fro. No indeede

Clo. Very well: you being then (if you be remembred) cracking the stones of the foresaid prewyns

Fro. I, so I did indeede

Clo. Why, very well: I telling you then (if you be remembred) that such a one, and such a one, were past cure of the thing you wot of, vnlesse they kept very good diet, as I told you

Fro. All this is true

Clo. Why very well then

Esc. Come: you are a tedious foole: to the purpose: what was done to Elbowes wife, that hee hath cause to complaine of? Come me to what was done to her

Clo. Sir, your honor cannot come to that yet

Esc. No sir, nor I meane it not

Clo. Sir, but you shall come to it, by your honours leaue: And I beseech you, looke into Master Froth here sir, a man of foure-score pound a yeare; whose father died at Hallowmas: Was't not at Hallowmas Master Froth? Fro. Allhallond-Eue

Clo. Why very well: I hope here be truthes: he Sir, sitting (as I say) in a lower chaire, Sir, 'twas in the bunch of Grapes, where indeede you haue a delight to sit, haue you not? Fro. I haue so, because it is an open roome, and good for winter

Clo. Why very well then: I hope here be truthes

Ang. This will last out a night in Russia When nights are longest there: Ile take my leaue, And leaue you to the hearing of the cause; Hoping youle finde good cause to whip them all.


Esc. I thinke no lesse: good morrow to your Lordship. Now Sir, come on: What was done to Elbowes wife, once more? Clo. Once Sir? there was nothing done to her once

Elb. I beseech you Sir, aske him what this man did to my wife

Clo. I beseech your honor, aske me

Esc. Well sir, what did this Gentleman to her? Clo. I beseech you sir, looke in this Gentlemans face: good Master Froth looke vpon his honor; 'tis for a good purpose: doth your honor marke his face? Esc. I sir, very well

Clo. Nay, I beseech you marke it well

Esc. Well, I doe so

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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