Measure for Measure By William Shakespeare Act II

CLOWN.
Sir, if it please your honour, this is not so.

ELBOW.
Prove it before these varlets here, thou honourable man, prove
it.

ESCALUS.
[To ANGELO.] Do you hear how he misplaces?

CLOWN.
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 threepence; your honours have
seen such dishes; they are not China dishes, but very good
dishes.

ESCALUS.
Go to, go to; no matter for the dish, sir.

CLOWN.
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 threepence again, —

FROTH.
No, indeed.

CLOWN.
Very well; you being then, if you be remember'd, cracking the
stones of the foresaid prunes, —

FROTH.
Ay, so I did indeed.

CLOWN.
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.

CLOWN.
Why, very well then.

ESCALUS.
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.

CLOWN.
Sir, your honour cannot come to that yet.

ESCALUS.
No, sir, nor I mean it not.

CLOWN.
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-hallond eve.

CLOWN.
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.

CLOWN.
Why, very well then; — I hope here be truths.

ANGELO.
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.

ESCALUS.
I think no less. Good morrow to your lordship.

[Exit ANGELO.]

Now, sir, come on; what was done to Elbow's wife, once more?

CLOWN.
Once, sir? there was nothing done to her once.

ELBOW.
I beseech you, sir, ask him what this man did to my wife.

CLOWN.
I beseech your honour, ask me.

ESCALUS.
Well, sir: what did this gentleman to her?

CLOWN.
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?

ESCALUS.
Ay, sir, very well.

CLOWN.
Nay, I beseech you, mark it well.

ESCALUS.
Well, I do so.

CLOWN.
Doth your honour see any harm in his face?

ESCALUS.
Why, no.

CLOWN.
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.

ESCALUS.
He's in the right. Constable, what say you to it?

ELBOW.
First, an it like you, the house is a respected house; next, this
is a respected fellow; and his mistress is a respected woman.

CLOWN.
By this hand, sir, his wife is a more respected person than any
of us all.

ELBOW.
Varlet, thou liest; thou liest, wicked varlet: the time is yet to
come that she was ever respected with man, woman, or child.

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