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ACT IV SCENE i
SOLD. Slut, I want to know if you are sticking to the conditions under which I married you.
BARB. I am.
SOLD. I mean that in the end you forget theological habits and juridicial habits and thoroughly learn soldierly habits.
BARB. I will.
SOLD. For now I will not give you a fine feather bed but a mat of straw.
BARB. Big deal, as long as enough wine is available, which I can always guzzle down an open throat.
SOLD. And I will eventually buy this for you, if you use some fancy purse slitting and bring me some money.
BARB. Calm down. Did I not tell you, soldier, that no one ever in any camp is better than I am in the dissection of wallets.
SOLD. I will believe you if you bring me a wallet.
BARB. Good God, what a clever and ingenious talent I have for opening treasure chests as well!
BARB. How many sausages, how many smoked hams, how many chickens, geese, capons will I sneak out of the farmers' barnyards!
SOLD. Excellent. But what will you do if caught?
BARB. Why ask that, you stupid man? I will deny everything and lie. Now are you pleased with me?
SOLD. Good enough. But do you know what is still left to make our marriage solid?
BARB. Yes, I do, namely that we toast our military marriage today with a thousand beakers.
SOLD. You are on the right road, slut. But in order for me to love you and in order that I may see that your words match your deeds — I will not marry you on any condition unless you first show me a clear and complete sample.
BARB. What kind of sample?
SOLD. Of plundering, stealing, and accumulating, all in secret of course.
BARB. This will easily be done. I will now go a-pillaging; I’m already on my way. I will bring back my loot, just be sure you assist me.
SOLD. I will. Command what you wish me to do with my skills.
BARB. Listen. Do you know Chrysostom?
BARB. The Lawyer whom I served for three hours after I fled from the Parson's house.
SOLD. Yes, I know that pervert. Tell me what I have to do, Barbara.
BARB. The first thing I’ll do is to pillage and sack his house.
BARB. You go inside first and pretend that you wish to consult the Lawyer.
BARB. Make up some case or other.
SOLD. What kind of case?
BARB. What kind? Like you can't make up some case on the spot? Tell him you were harmed or injured by a fellow-soldier, or that cash was stolen from you, or something like that.
SOLD. I understand.
BARB. While you are making conversation with the Lawyer, I will be looting what he has looted, ’ll sweep out every corner. I will take on the nature of an octopus: whatever it touches, I will carry away. ’ll quietly pillage his pantry and his strongbox, whatever is in the house. I’ll completely unravel Chrysostom and I’ll turn him into Phrixus' ram so that he himself will no longer know what he has, what he is, where he is, or why he is.
SOLD. Ha ha, I am very pleased with you, completely! Let me hug you, Barbara, let me kiss you before you leave.
BARB. Leave off! Instead let's gut this jurist first. But one thing is still left to do. a thing which is particularly necessary for success.
SOLD. What more is needed?
BARB. Indeed, whatever is still left to do.
SOLD. Tell me what it is.
BARB. Especially that Chrysostom, who was my master for a while, or the Parson not recognize me.
SOLD. Excellent point.
BARB. You make sure that I can take off these old, ragged clothes and can put on better military clothing.
SOLD. What clothing?
BARB. First get me a blue shirt.
BARB. Then a red doublet.
SOLD. What next?
BARB. A white surcoat with fringes.
SOLD. Tell me what you will put on next.
BARB. A very broad and thick ruff-collar, and a broad brimmed hat, from which a tall crest shall extend up high. Next with some wrappings I will pad my legs to make my calves shapely.
SOLD. By Mars, I really like this image! You are clever in every way. Continue.
BARB. I already told you my military outfit. You will give me some money so that I can adorn myself colorfully like a foreigner, and I will make my face unrecognizable, one that has never been seen here before.
SOLD. But why should I give you money? Didn't I just say that you are going to give me money?
BARB. ’m aware of that. But before I pillage his cash, I must make myself unrecognizable and change these clothes. If this doesn't happen, we are cleaning the latrine in vain. You must make an investment if you seek to make a profit.
SOLD. Now I know what I have to do. You will find everything here at my fellow-soldier's quarters. He will give you what you need, everything that you ask for by name: shirt, vest, doublet, surcoat, hat—since he supports many whores.
BARB. Where is this martial warrior?
SOLD. In the tavern nearby.
BARB. I know that useless fellow.
SOLD. Go quickly and dress yourself.
BARB. Do you want anything else?
SOLD. Just that you remember this. [Kisses her.]
BARB. I’m going. I will soon return. You wait here.
SOLD. I will. You quickly finish your business there. [She exits.] What should I do now? Should I stand here mute and hang around, while Barbara dresses herself? I will not. What about this? To keep busy here ’ll tell you what masters I have had in my life, for from the start of my life I have behaved just like a prodigy. I was born in the first year of my life to a mother who was a woman, to a father who was a man, in this very world (so that no one will bring a charge of alien status against me), to a citizen of this land and an inhabitant of the universe as a whole. Then after I fled my parents' house because I became bored with grammar and Dasypodius' mathematics, I had extensive experience of the following masters, whom I will list in order. In the beginning I was almost a servant to almost a man, who lived a studious life (almost), whose forehead ended almost in stag horns. Instead of books and contrary to his expectations, this man was presented with brats, free of charge (almost); for he married an almost maiden, who had been living at court for a long time in an almost chaste, almost playful, almost laughing, winking, and lusting way. Behold! After his almost marriage ceremony was barely finished and two months (almost) had barely elapsed, he was endowed with an offspring who was almost his own and almost legitimate. How did this happen? One morning his almost new bride felt something, almost a cramp, and she compelled her husband, as if he were almost a doctor, to believe that this almost disease had stirred up something almost like a caterpillar, which a most skilled midwife finally extracted after several hours, a thing almost a person, almost new-born, almost an infant, almost a boy-child, almost like his father, and almost the son of his father. The child saluted my master as almost his father and delighted him a thousandfold. I just about left my almost master as if he had given me money, as if I were going to return and at last, as if I were hard-working, I went to another one. Thus you have my first master. But now, hey, Barbara, Barbara. When will you come out, when will you be dressed? Hey where are you hiding, Barbara?
BARB. [Within.] Why are you shouting, you idiot, why make such a racket? I have barely taken off my clothes and now you want me to come out on stage naked!
SOLD. Keep your voice down, slut, and make sure to finish quickly. [To audience.} She is not coming out yet. Now while we must wait, look, ’ll describe my second master. So I next went to a very crafty innkeeper, who bore a snake on his shield, who could rapidly write on his tally board two marks with one swipe of his chalk. A greedy, lying, thievish, grasping man; a big-bellied, ruptured, amorous man. In addition he had a fashionable, sweet, young wife, who loved the young men (if any came to the inn) more than her husband, who was soaked with wine and snored the night through. So what happened? I took my mistress as a model and treated a maid in the same way in which the young men treated my hostess. While I kissed her, fondled her, embraced her, snuggled with her, (just imagine!) from all this kissing, snuggling, and a thousandfold embracing, (good gods!) finally the maid's belly became swollen. So that I could deceive my host and my host's maid with one device, I pretended that I wanted to stroll in the woods for relaxation, and so that they would not get a hint of the escape which I was planning, I emptied my suitcase, filled it with large rocks, and gave it to my host to guard. Thus I slipped out and I have no way of knowing what my master finally did with my suitcase or the maid with her belly, both of which I had filled.
But Barbara has still not come out, and so I’ll move to another master. This one was the master cook in a prince's court. Whatever he took into his pantry, he divided and subdivided so carefully that he put out two sausages even though he had received only one. He circulated the story that there were many dead fowls around the court. Since the birds' feathers had been plucked and were lying on the dung-pile, he made a fig-pecker from a finch, a capon from a game hen, a quail from a crow, and a lark from a sparrow. Every time he went home after dining, he secretly carried to his wife a canteen made of leather and filled with the best wine, along with a thousand tidbits, all of which nearly burst his pockets. From my master I adopted with great enthusiasm this art of thieving, as if it were my hereditary right, and cleverly turning the tables on my master cook, I sewed a gold cup into my pack and aimed for the road with my feet. Along with the road I changed my master. Now, Barbara, where are you sleeping? Do you want me to shake the sleep out of your eyes with my fist? By Mars, ’ll quicken that turtle-slow pace of yours! Do you hear me, slut; do you hear?
BARB. [Within.] Why are you harassing me, you pickpocket? I have barely put on my undergarment as yet.
SOLD. I have been waiting for you for almost an entire year, you witch. By the gods and goddesses, if you don't move more quickly real soon now, I’ll stick this dagger into you up to the hilt, just watch me! Now while she's being so slow, I will tell you the story of my last master. I was hired by a traveling medicine-show man who pretended that he was a doctor. As soon as this man arrived in a town, with the help of me and my fellow-servants he immediately built a stall in the marketplace where he first started playing music and then acting short skits with us to attract the populace. Soon they were all listening in silence, and next he brought out his salves and balsams, showed them to the people, and recommended them with stupendous praise as effective against dropsy, the French disease, quartan fevers, gout, epilepsy, consumption, leprosy, hernia, and the plague, in short, against all incurable diseases. He praised these nasty drugs for sale so well that quicker than you can say it, he gained a lot of money. I finally left this master too, after I unhappily filched what I thought was a gold necklace, which however was made out of pure brass.
Finally I took to soldiering, in which profession I soak myself with wine day and night and skillfully drain my beakers in the tents, whenever the trumpeter or the piper gives the loud signal. I also wile the time away with dice or cards, where I have lost my cloak and hat more than once. Whenever I wage war among these piled-up dishes, among all this wine and Bacchus, I breathe out monstrous threats. “What legions did I once blow away with one breath, just as the wind blows away leaves or the reed-thatched roof!” Next I inform you that “Long ago on the broad field of Liardon (where Bombomachides Megistocluninstaridysarchides was supreme commander, not far from the New Indies) I broke an elephant's leg with this fist of mine.” But, in the name of the gods and men, what do I see? O, I see the sun! Isn't it quite dimmed in comparison with the bright beauty of her person? [Enter Barbara.]
BARB. Now I am dressed in the military fashion.
SOLD. O Barbara, is it really you? Is it? Please tell me.
BARB. Don't I make you glad?
SOLD. By Hercules you are marching in festive garb.
BARB. This surcoat, tell me, how does it suit me?
SOLD. Suit you? Nothing could be better.
BARB. What about the ruffed collar?
SOLD. Hurrah, excellent.
BARB. I beg you, officer, look at this. Does this vest suit me?
SOLD. Does it? It suits better than the best.
BARB. Is the crest on my cap arranged fashionably?
SOLD. It is certainly placed most fashionably.
BARB. Is the entire image sufficiently pleasing?
SOLD. Indeed it pleases me very well.
BARB. How does this ruffed collar seem to you?
SOLD. It could hardly be more attractive.
BARB. Come now, gaze at this tunic, and see if it suits me well enough.
SOLD. Now I’m telling you a thousand times: I have seen hardly anything more elegant.
BARB. Now tell me this. Did you see that painting hanging on the wall, in which Venus is tied up with Mars and caught by Vulcan?
SOLD. Often. But what does that picture have to do with me?
BARB. Come look at me. Am I making a similar impression?
BARB. Today I will be Venus and you Mars.
SOLD. Well now, at this moment that picture does not make me happy.
SOLD. Because I am afraid that some Vulcan will catch us
BARB. Anyway, why are we waiting around and not going to this lawyer Chrysostom's house?
SOLD. By Hercules, please, first dance with me.
BARB. I’m going to dance? By heaven. you’re insane.
SOLD. If you won't dance, then take off the clothes. Otherwise dance, seeing that you are here only to accommodate yourself to my habits.
BARB. I will dance, when we have gutted this jurist first.
SOLD. As you wish.
BARB. But happily, one more thing occurs to me.
SOLD. What is that?
BARB. That I make my face unrecognizable.
SOLD. In what way?
BARB. First I will touch up my eyebrows with ink.
BARB. Then I will make my cheeks red.
BARB. Then I will close my left eye, as if I were one-eyed.
SOLD. Well, lovely.
BARB. I will alter my voice, and I will speak in an obviously military manner.
BARB. Alla vostra Signoria le mani.
SOLD. Ha, good one!
BARB. I will change my appearance. How is this?
SOLD. You are talking nonsense.
BARB. Well, how about this?
SOLD. Not yet.
BARB. Look at my appearance. Now is this all rigbt?
BARB. How about this?
BARB. What if it's like this?
BARB. What about this?
SOLD. Barbara, that's fine, just keep it like that. You have changed yourself quite cleverly. Let's go inside.
BARB. Go ahead, I’ll follow. Be sure you knock calmly on the door. I will lie here to ambush him, and whatever I run into stealthily, I will sieze, every bit of it. Then we will drink until tomorrow's morning star.
SOLD. Hush, slut. Be quiet, slut. The door is opening.
By heaven the world is wickedly organized: the very poorest are always adding wealth to the rich. I donated a cheese to this Badvocate, but he is not content with that. He ordered me to bring something alse in addition. I pried into every corner of my house. I do indeed have some cows, some calves, donkeys, horses, and pigs, but God forbid that I give them to this pettifogger. But, so that I don't come here empty-handed, I have convinced myself to bring the Badvocate this she-goat which you see here, but only on condition that I get a rapid resolution of my entire case against the parson and the merchant. If the case does not proceed according to my wishes, you, goat, will leave here with me. Ha ha, I practically fall down laughing whenever I see this goat, whose beard sticks out just like my friend Chrysostom's. If she did not have horns, I would straightway make sure that she was learning the Magna Grammatica in law school, since she has such a versatile mind. Her mind, I repeat, is so penetrating that even if Argus were guarding her, she could still find some crack that she would gnaw at or bite. She also has a capacious udder and produces much milk, and she grows the softest fleece all over her back. Now if you view the medicine box which she has here in her rump: look, she surpasses everything which the pharmacists sell, since she forms the dung from her rump into pills which are small, moist, and round. You would find it worthwhile to gold-plate these and preserve them in jars. Whenever my wife feels some cramp or pain around her navel, she quickly takes these pills and right away finds immediate relief, so that she laughs at all the doctors.
But what is this military-looking whore carrying out of the house?
BARBARA, SHYSTER, MENALCAS, SOLDIER
BARB. I will go and quickly carry the loot into this tent.
SHY. [Runs from house.] Where are you going, you slut? Stop, stop! Menalcas, give me some help.
MEN. I will. [Grabs Barbara.] Stay here.
BARB. You, peasant, why are you grabbing my arm?
SHY. Hold onto her.
BARB. Let me go.
SHY. Hold her.
BARB. You triple bastard, why don't you let me go?
SHY. By Hercules, I’ll hold onto you.
BARB. It is no use holding me, take this first. [Hands him some of the loot] I will leave behind this instead, and I will carry off this bag which I just filled with money.
MEN. May the gods damn you, you slut! Where did she escape to? What did she leave here in the street?
SHY. Menalcas, hands off, hands off, these are mine.
SHY. That's what I say. This soldier's whore was sneaking all of this out of my house.
SOLD. What are you saying, you triple bastard? Are you saying that she is my whore?
SHY. That's what I’m saying.
SOLD. You are saying that she is mine, lawyer?
SHY. Why not? You don't deny it, do you?
SOLD. I do deny it, by Hercules. In fact I will swear by Mars and all the gods that I never saw her before.
SHY. Didn't she come in with you?
SOLD. So what? What's it to me who comes to see you, you charlatan?
SHY. What? You call me a charlatan? Help me, Menalcas.
SOLD. Let me go. I will certainly run right now to my capitan, and I will charge you with a crime, because of this great injustice.
PASTOR, MERCHANT, COURTIER, SHYSTER, MENALCAS
PAST. What kind of uproar is occurring here, friend merchant?
MERCH. I don't know — except that I see the Lawyer here.
PAST. I wonder what he and Menalcas are picking up. I will go closer so that I can learn what it is.
COUR. What kind of uproar are you causing? What quarrels are you starting?
PAST. Just come over here. What are you collecting here, lawyer?
SHY. Only what this military whore just stole out of my house and left in the street.
MEN. Oh Lordy Mercy, isn't this my cheese which I gave you today?
PAST. Why did you give him a cheese?
MEN. So that I could cheat you of the cash which I have owed you such a long time.
PAST. What are you saying?
MEN. Just the facts.
PAST. But aren't these my eggs in this basket?
SHY. I admit it.
PAST. I gave these eggs for a similar reason, so that I could harass you, Menalcas, you villainous debtor, before a judge.
MEN. What's that to me, since my case is better than yours, because I will be losing not just a cheese, but even a she-goat, in order to make sure that you lose everything.
MERCH. But wasn't my hat along with my silk breeches put down here? They certainly were.
COUR. Isn't this my rabbit here as well? It certainly is.
MERCH. I wonder this, courtier; tell me why you presented a rabbit to him.
COUR. You first tell me why you presented a cap and silk breeches to this lawyer.
MERCH. Well, of course, so that I could bring a big lawsuit against you.
COUR. Ha ha, for my part I also presented a rabbit to him, so that I could discover some scheme by which I could despoil you of all the money that I owe you.
MERCH. You wanted to defraud me through the agency of this lawyer?
COUR. That's what ’m saying. And likewise you wanted to bring a case against me?
MERCH. I don't deny it.
MEN. You likewise wanted to defraud me?
MERCH. That's what ’m saying.
PAST. You likewise wanted to defraud me?
MEN. I don't deny it. And you likewise wanted to bring a case against me?
PAST. That's what ’m saying. For that reason I brought the eggs.
MEN. And I brought cheese and a goat.
COUR. And I gave him this rabbit.
MERCH. And I brought this cap and the silk breeches.
COUR. By God, what kind of cheating is this? What kind of a mess? You vicious plague, why are you mumbling to yourself?
PAST. By God, what am I hearing? Lawman, why are you so silent?
MERCH. Good God, what am I to think? Shyster, why are you standing there paralysed?
MEN. What kind of business is this, you villain? You tumor, why are you just standing there and shitting in your pants?
MERCH. You see I gave him a cap, just so that he could cheat me for this cap.
MEN. You see I gave him a cheese, just so that he could cheat me for this cheese.
PAST. You see I gave him eggs, just so that he could cheat me for the sake of these eggs.
COUR. You see I gave him a rabbit, just so that he could cheat me for this donated rabbit.
MERCH. So ’ll carry away these breeches and my cap.
PAST. And likwise I will take my eggs and ’ll carry away this cloak.
COUR. I likewise will take my rabbit, and ’ll make off with this sword.
MERCH. I likewise will rescue my goat and the cheese. But what loot is still left, something that I can take from the lawyer? I don't know, because you all have taken everything. But I see what I can take. Sit down, lawyer, and ’ll pull these boots off of you.
SHY. O unhappy me! O unlucky me! Am I to be pillaged in this way?
COUR. Stay still. You are not combed out enough just yet.
SHY. Oh, let me go.
COUR. It's no use for you to beg, for you are going to be shaved by us first.
SHY. ’m done for!
COUR. Now since Your Reverence often carries a razor, please lend us a good, sharp one.
PAST. My Lord may have his choice and may take whichever he pleases from my razor case.
COUR. I give Your Reverence great thanks. Now you, shyster, sit here and puff out your right cheek.
SHY. Alas, woe is me!
COUR. You jailbird, why are you shouting and crying? Unless you stay quiet, ’ll stick a plug in your mouth, just as butchers do to pigs.
SHY. Woe, woe to my cheek!
MEN. Ha ha.
MERCH. Ha ha.
COUR. Hey you, where are you heading?
SHY. Let me go away from here anywhere in the world rather than spend my days so wretchedly under such a barber. Am I to die under these scissors?
COUR. Bah, aren't you a silly man who wants to have one cheek smoothly shaved and the other so hairy?
SHY. I don't care.
COUR. You all hold him.
MEN. I am holding.
SHY. Please, O please don't!
COUR. By Hercules, you are begging in vain.
SHY. O woe is me!
COUR. Just be quiet and look up. Where are you turning your face?
SHY. Alas, alas, woe is me!
COUR. Why are you shouting and crying?
SHY. Oh alas, I am shaved enough.
COUR. You are not skinned well enough, not the way you personally wanted to skin me, the merchant, the parson, and the peasant.
SHY. Alas, alas.
PAST. Now be serene in your mind; now you are fashionable enough. You all bring a mirror.
COUR. Here is one. You tumor, look. Do you see yourself?
SHY. It's not me, by God, but some wrinkled, withered, bald, toothless old woman with no beard.
COUR. Now get up so that I can mark your forehead. Hey, turn your face again to the sky.
SHY. O woe is me, what will happen to me now?
COUR. Someone bring me a piece of charcoal from inside.
MEN. Here you have some charcoal.
COUR. Give it to me so that I can print on his forehead two letters: C. C.,which means Cave Canem [“Beware of the dog.”]
SHY. O woe is me, where can I go now?
COUR. Wherever you like. We will handle matters inside without your help.
MEN. We will go.
COUR. Menalcas, carry this rabbit and the sword for me.
MEN. Hand them here.
COUR. Tell me, Menalcas, why are you examining the rabbit?
MEN. By great Jupiter, this is the very rabbit that I caught.
COUR. Why are you lying, you bum?
MEN. But if you don't believe what I say, by heaven ’ll swear an oath that I shot this rabbit with my blunderbuss.
MEN. Yes, me.
COUR. How can you know?
MEN. By the shot which penetrated the left ear and left paw.
COUR. Since the court hunter gave the rabbit to me today, how can you say that you caught it?
MEN. Because of this: when I caught it, the huntsman came to me begging that I give him the rabbit and at the same time he took some money and counted it out to me. I accepted it and in return handed over the rabbit.
COUR. Great! This is shrewdly done. I like it. Damn it, that huntsman put one over on me! ’ll go and find out where he is, and ’ll give him to you all to gobble up. Follow me.
MERCH. We are following.
PAST. But I will head for my study, so that I can finish the sermon which I began.
SHY. Ah, woe is me, what shall I do, what shall I even try to do?
HER. Alas, alas, whom do I spy here weeping without his coat? Alas and alack, whom do I see here wandering around without his sword, his cap, or his shoes. Why do you walk here alone?
SHY. I am unfortunate.
HER. But who are you, what are you looking for, what is your home, and where do you come from?
SHY. You are asking me many things at the same time and I don't know which I should answer first. If you ask your questions one at a time and calmly, ’ll make sure you know my name, my actions, and my fate.
HER. I will do as you wish. So come now, lay out your name for me first.
SHY. I am Chrysostom.
HER. What are you.
SHY. A jurist.
HER. Oh, woe is me. Who plundered you in such a way?
SHY. Most wicked men, who treated my very badly, just like bandits.
HER. Alas, alas, why are you shaven like this? Why do you have marks on your forehead? Why don't you clean off these blots with a damp sponge?
SHY. Ah, why are you adding more misery to my misery? Why don't you give me some help?
HER. I will, just stick out your right hand, for I see that you too are a man most suited for immediate service in Folly's kingdom. Just come inside here.
SHY. What should I do?
HER. Just come in here, where I will reveal in every detail what you must do hereafter. Right now a certain philosophaster, a huntsman, and a peasant are still waiting for me. As soon as the bell gives the signal, they will receive here in the atrium a royal position from our queen.
SHY. Go on ahead. I will follow wherever in the world you lead me.