PIERRE. No more! I have friends to meet me
And must be private. As you prize my friendship,
Keep up your coxcomb.1 Let him not pry nor listen
Nor fisk2 about the house as I have seen him, 50 Like a tame mumping3 squirrel with a bell on.
Curs will be abroad to bite him, if you do.
AQUIL. What friends to meet? may I not be of your council?
PIERRE. How! a woman ask questions out of bed?
Go to your senator, ask him what passes 55 Amongst his brethren; he'll hide nothing from you.
But pump not me for politics. No more!
Give order that whoever in my name
Comes here, receive admittance; so, good night.
AQUIL. Must we ne'er meet again? Embrace no more? 60
Is love so soon and utterly forgotten?
PIERRE. As you henceforward treat your fool,
I'll think on't.
AQUIL. [aside]. Curst be all fools, and doubly
The worst of fools. -- I die if he forsakes me;
And how to keep him, heav'n or hell instruct me. 65
JAFFEIR. I am here; and thus, the shades of
night around me,
I look as if all hell were in my heart,
And I in hell. Nay, surely, 'tis so with me;
For every step I tread methinks some fiend
Knocks at my breast, and bids it not be quiet. 5 I've heard how desperate wretches like myself Have wandered out at this dead time of night
To meet the foe of mankind in his walk:
Sure, I'm so curst that, though of heav'n forsaken,
No minister of darkness cares to tempt me. 10
Hell! Hell! why sleepest thou?
PIERRE [aside]. Sure, I have stayed too long; The clock has struck, and I may lose my proselyte.
-- Speak, who goes there?
JAFF. A dog that comes to howl
At yonder moon. What's he that asks the question?
PIERRE. A friend to dogs, for they are honest creatures, 15
And ne'er betray their masters; never fawn
On any that they love not. Well met, friend.
JAFF. The same. O Pierre! thou art come in sea-son:
I was just going to pray.
PIERRE. Ah, that's mechanic: 20 Priests make a trade on't, and yet starve by't, too: No praying; it spoils business, and time's precious.
JAFF. For a day or two
I've lodged her privately, till I see farther
What fortune will do with me. Prithee, friend, 25 If thou wouldst have me fit to hear good counsel, Speak not of Belvidera --
PIERRE. Speak not of her?
JAFF. Oh, no!
PIERRE. Nor name her? May be I wish her well.
JAFF. Who well?
PIERRE. Thy wife, thy lovely Belvidera;
I hope a man may wish his friend's wife well, 30 And no harm done!
JAFF. Y'are merry, Pierre!
PIERRE. I am so.
Thou shalt smile too, and Belvidera smile;
We'll all rejoice. [Gives him a purse.]
Here's something to buy pins;
Marriage is chargeable.4
JAFF. [aside]. I but half wished
To see the devil, and he's here already. 35
What must this buy -- rebellion, murder, treason?
Tell me which way I must be damned for this.
PIERRE. When last we parted, we had no qualms
But entertained each other's thoughts like men 40 Whose souls were well acquainted. Is the world Reformed since our last meeting? What new mir-acles
Have happened? Has Priuli's heart relented?
Can he be honest?
JAFF. Kind heav'n! let heavy curses
Gall his old age! cramps, achès, rack his bones, 45 And bitterest disquiet wring his heart! Oh, let him live till life become his burden;
Let him groan under't long, linger an age
In the worst agonies and pangs of death,
And find its ease but late!
PIERRE. Nay, couldst thou not 50 As well, my friend, have stretched the curse to all The Senate round, as to one single villain?
JAFF. But curses stick not. Could I kill with cursing,____________________