Act 1, Scene I

Scene: A Room in La Castre's House.

Enter DE GARD, and a Footboy.

De Gard.
Sirrah, you know I have rid hard; stir my horse well,
And let him want no litter.
I am sure I have run hard;
'Would somebody would walk me, and see me litter'd,
For I think my fellow horse cannot in reason
Desire more rest, nor take up his chamber before me:
But we are the beasts now, and the beasts are our masters.
De Gard.
When you have done, step to the ten-crown ordinary——
With all my heart, sir; for I have a twenty-crown stomach.
De Gard.
And there bespeak a dinner.
Boy. [Going.]
Yes, sir, presently.
De Gard.
For whom, I beseech you, sir?
For myself, I take it, sir.
De Gard.
In truth, you shall not take it; 'tis not meant for you;
There's for your provender. Bespeak a dinner
For Monsieur Mirabel, and his companions;
They'll be in town within this hour. When you have done, sirrah,
Make ready all things at my lodgings, for me,
And wait me there.
The ten-crown ordinary?
De Gard.
Yes, sir, if you have not forgot it.
I'll forget my feet first:
'Tis the best part of a footman's faith.
[Exit Boy.
De Gard.
These youths,
For all they have been in Italy to learn thrift,
And seem to wonder at men's lavish ways,
Yet they cannot rub off old friends, their French itches;
They must meet sometimes to disport their bodies
With good wine, and good women; and good store too.
Let 'em be what they will, they are arm'd at all points,
And then hang saving, let the sea grow high!
This ordinary can fit 'em of all sizes.
They must salute their country with old customs.


De Gard.
My dearest sister!
Welcome, welcome!
Indeed, you are welcome home, most welcome!
De Gard.
Thank ye!
You're grown a handsome woman, Oriana:
Blush at your faults. I am wond'rous glad to see you!—
Monsieur La Castre, let not my affection
To my fair sister make me held unmannerly:
I am glad to see you well, to see you lusty,
Good health about you, and in fair company;
Believe me, I am proud
La Castre.
Fair sir, I thank you.
Monsieur De Gard, you are welcome from your journey!
Good men have still good welcome: Give me your hand, sir.
Once more, you are welcome home! You look still younger.
De Gard.
Time has no leisure to look after us;
We wander everywhere; age cannot find us.
La Castre.
And how does all?
De Gard.
All well, sir, and all lusty.
La Castre.
I hope my son be so: I doubt not, sir,
But you have often seen him in your journeys,
And bring me some fair news.
De Gard.
Your son is well, sir,
And grown a proper gentleman: he's well, and lusty.
Within this eight hours I took leave of him,
And over-hied him, having some slight business
That forced me out o' th' way: I can assure you,
He will be here to-night.
La Castre.
You make me glad, sir,
For, o' my faith, I almost long to see him!
Methinks he has been away——
De Gard.
'Tis but your tenderness;
What are three years? a love-sick wench will allow it.
His friends, that went out with him, are come back too,
Belleur, and young Pinac: He bid me say little,
Because he means to be his own glad messenger.
La Castre.
I thank you for this news, sir. He shall be welcome,
And his friends too: Indeed, I thank you heartily!
And how (for I dare say you will not flatter him)
Has Italy wrought on him? has he mew'd yet
His wild fantastic toys? They say, that climate
Is a great purger of those humorous fluxes.
How is he improved, I pray you?
De Gard.
No doubt, sir, well.
He has borne himself a full and noble gentleman;
To speak him further is beyond my charter.
La Castre.
I am glad to hear so much good. Come, I see
You long to enjoy your sister; yet I must entreat you,
Before I go, to sup with me to-night,
And must not be denied.
De Gard.
I am your servant.
La Castre.
Where you shall meet fair, merry, and noble company;
My neighbour Nantolet; and his two fair daughters.
De Gard.
Your supper's season'd well, sir: I shall wait upon you.
La Castre.
Till then I'll leave ye: And you are once more welcome!
De Gard.
I thank you, noble sir!—Now, Oriana,
How have ye done since I went? have ye had your health well?
And your mind free?
You see, I am not bated;
Merry, and eat my meat.
De Gard.
A good preservative.
And how have you been used? You know, Oriana,
Upon my going out, at your request,
I left your portion in La Castre's hands,
The main means you must stick to: For that reason,
And 'tis no little one, I ask you, sister,
With what humanity he entertains you,
And how you find his courtesy?
Most ready:
I can assure you, sir, I am used most nobly.
De Gard.
I am glad to hear it: But, I pr'ythee tell me,
And tell me true, what end had you, Oriana,
In trusting your money here? He is no kinsman,
Nor any tie upon him of a guardian;
Nor dare I think you doubt my prodigality.
No, certain, sir; none of all this provoked me;
Another private reason.
De Gard.
'Tis not private,
Nor carried so; 'tis common, my fair sister;
Your love to Mirabel: Your blushes tell it.
'Tis too much known, and spoken of too largely:
And with no little shame I wonder at it.
Is it a shame to love?
De Gard.
To love undiscreetly:
A virgin should be tender of her honour,
Close, and secure.
I am as close as can be,
And stand upon as strong and honest guards too;
Unless this warlike age need a portcullis.
Yet, I confess, I love him.
De Gard.
Hear the people.
Now I say, hang the people! he that dares
Believe what they say, dares be mad, and give
His mother, nay, his own wife, up to rumour.
All grounds of truth, they build on, is a tavern;
And their best censure's sack, sack in abundance
For as they drink, they think: They ne'er speak modestly,
Unless the wine be poor, or they want money.
Believe them? Believe Amadis de Gaul,
The Knight o' th' Sun, or Palmerin of England
For these, to them, are modest and true stories!
Pray understand me; if their tongues be truth,
As if in vino veritas be an oracle,
What woman is, or has been ever, honest?
Give 'em but ten round cups, they'll swear Lucretia
Died not for want of power to resist Tarquin,
But want of pleasure that he stay'd no longer:
And Portia, that was famous for her piety
To her loved lord, they'll face ye out, died o' th' pox.
De Gard.
Well, there is something, sister.
If there be, brother,
Tis none of their things; 'tis not yet so monstrous:
My thing is marriage; and, at his return,
I hope to put their squint eyes right again.
De Gard.
Marriage? 'Tis true, his father is a rich man,
Rich both in land and money; he his heir,
A young and handsome man, I must confess too;
But of such qualities, and such wild flings,
Such admirable imperfections, sister,
(For all his travel, and bought experience)
I should be loth to own him for my brother.
Methinks, a rich mind in a state indifferent
Would prove the better fortune.
If he be wild.
The reclaiming him to good and honest, brother,
Wil make much for my honour; which, if I prosper,
Shall be the study of my love, and life too.
De Gard.
You say well; 'would he thought as well, and loved too!
He marry? he'll be hang'd first; he knows no more
What the conditions and the ties of love are,
The honest purposes and grounds of marriage,
Nor will know, nor be ever brought to endeavour,
Than I do how to build a church: He was ever
A loose and strong defier of all order;
His loves are wanderers, they knock at each door,
And taste each dish, but are no residents.
Or say, he may be bought to think of marriage,
(As 'twill be no small labour) thy hopes are strangers:
I know, there is a labour'd match now follow'd,
Now at this time, for which he was sent for home too:
Be not abused; Nantolet has two fair daughters,
And he must take his choice.
Let him take freely:
For all this I despair not; my mind tells me
That I, and only I, must make him perfect;
And in that hope I rest.
De Gard.
Since you're so confident,
Prosper your hope! I'll be no adversary;
Keep yourself fair and right, he shall not wrong you.
When I forget my virtue, no man know me!