Act II - Scene i

Sir Joseph Wittoll, Sharper following.

SHARP.  Sure that’s he, and alone.

SIR JO.  Um—Ay, this, this is the very damned place; the inhuman cannibals, the bloody-minded villains, would have butchered me last night.  No doubt they would have flayed me alive, have sold my skin, and devoured, etc.

SHARP.  How’s this!

SIR JO.  An it hadn’t been for a civil gentleman as came by and frighted ’em away—but, agad, I durst not stay to give him thanks.

SHARP.  This must be Bellmour he means.  Ha!  I have a thought—

SIR JO.  Zooks, would the captain would come; the very remembrance makes me quake; agad, I shall never be reconciled to this place heartily.

SHARP.  ’Tis but trying, and being where I am at worst, now luck!—cursed fortune! this must be the place, this damned unlucky place—

SIR JO.  Agad, and so ’tis.  Why, here has been more mischief done, I perceive.

SHARP.  No, ’tis gone, ’tis lost—ten thousand devils on that chance which drew me hither; ay, here, just here, this spot to me is hell; nothing to be found, but the despair of what I’ve lost.  [Looking about as in search.]

SIR JO.  Poor gentleman!  By the Lord Harry I’ll stay no longer, for I have found too—

SHARP.  Ha! who’s that has found?  What have you found?  Restore it quickly, or by—

SIR JO.  Not I, sir, not I; as I’ve a soul to be saved, I have found nothing but what has been to my loss, as I may say, and as you were saying, sir.

SHARP.  Oh, your servant, sir; you are safe, then, it seems.  ’Tis an ill wind that blows nobody good.  Well, you may rejoice over my ill fortune, since it paid the price of your ransom.

SIR JO.  I rejoice! agad, not I, sir: I’m very sorry for your loss, with all my heart, blood and guts, sir; and if you did but know me, you’d ne’er say I were so ill-natured.

SHARP.  Know you!  Why, can you be so ungrateful to forget me?

SIR JO.  O Lord, forget him!  No, no, sir, I don’t forget you—because I never saw your face before, agad.  Ha, ha, ha!

SHARP.  How!  [Angrily.]

SIR JO.  Stay, stay, sir, let me recollect—he’s a damned angry fellow—I believe I had better remember him, until I can get out of his sight; but out of sight out of mind, agad.  [Aside.]

SHARP.  Methought the service I did you last night, sir, in preserving you from those ruffians, might have taken better root in your shallow memory.

SIR JO.  Gads-daggers-belts-blades and scabbards, this is the very gentleman!  How shall I make him a return suitable to the greatness of his merit?  I had a pretty thing to that purpose, if he ha’n’t frighted it out of my memory.  Hem! hem! sir, I most submissively implore your pardon for my transgression of ingratitude and omission; having my entire dependence, sir, upon the superfluity of your goodness, which, like an inundation, will, I hope, totally immerge the recollection of my error, and leave me floating, in your sight, upon the full-blown bladders of repentance—by the help of which, I shall once more hope to swim into your favour.  [Bows.]

SHARP.  So-h, oh, sir, I am easily pacified, the acknowledgment of a gentleman—

SIR JO.  Acknowledgment!  Sir, I am all over acknowledgment, and will not stick to show it in the greatest extremity by night or by day, in sickness or in health, winter or summer; all seasons and occasions shall testify the reality and gratitude of your superabundant humble servant, Sir Joseph Wittoll, knight.  Hem! hem!

SHARP.  Sir Joseph Wittoll?

SIR JO.  The same, sir, of Wittoll Hall in Comitatu Bucks.

SHARP.  Is it possible!  Then I am happy to have obliged the mirror of knighthood and pink of courtesie in the age.  Let me embrace you.

SIR JO.  O Lord, sir!

SHARP.  My loss I esteem as a trifle repaid with interest, since it has purchased me the friendship and acquaintance of the person in the world whose character I admire.

SIR JO.  You are only pleased to say so, sir.  But, pray, if I may be so bold, what is that loss you mention?

SHARP.  Oh, term it no longer so, sir.  In the scuffle last night I only dropt a bill of a hundred pound, which, I confess, I came half despairing to recover; but, thanks to my better fortune—

SIR JO.  You have found it, sir, then, it seems; I profess I’m heartily glad—

SHARP.  Sir, your humble servant.  I don’t question but you are, that you have so cheap an opportunity of expressing your gratitude and generosity, since the paying so trivial a sum will wholly acquit you and doubly engage me.

SIR JO.  What a dickens does he mean by a trivial sum?  [Aside.]  But ha’n’t you found it, sir!

SHARP.  No otherwise, I vow to Gad, but in my hopes in you, sir.

SIR JO.  Humh.

SHARP.  But that’s sufficient.  ’Twere injustice to doubt the honour of Sir Joseph Wittoll.

SIR JO.  O Lord, sir.

SHARP.  You are above, I’m sure, a thought so low, to suffer me to lose what was ventured in your service; nay, ’twas in a manner paid down for your deliverance; ’twas so much lent you.  And you scorn, I’ll say that for you—

SIR JO.  Nay, I’ll say that for myself, with your leave, sir, I do scorn a dirty thing.  But, agad, I’m a little out of pocket at present.

SHARP.  Pshaw, you can’t want a hundred pound.  Your word is sufficient anywhere.  ’Tis but borrowing so much dirt.  You have large acres, and can soon repay it.  Money is but dirt, Sir Joseph—mere dirt.

SIR JO.  But, I profess, ’tis a dirt I have washed my hands of at present; I have laid it all out upon my Back.

SHARP.  Are you so extravagant in clothes, Sir Joseph?

SIR JO.  Ha, ha, ha, a very good jest, I profess, ha, ha, ha, a very good jest, and I did not know that I had said it, and that’s a better jest than t’other.  ’Tis a sign you and I ha’n’t been long acquainted; you have lost a good jest for want of knowing me—I only mean a friend of mine whom I call my Back; he sticks as close to me, and follows me through all dangers—he is indeed back, breast, and head-piece, as it were, to me.  Agad, he’s a brave fellow.  Pauh, I am quite another thing when I am with him: I don’t fear the devil (bless us) almost if he be by.  Ah! had he been with me last night—

SHARP.  If he had, sir, what then? he could have done no more, nor perhaps have suffered so much.  Had he a hundred pound to lose?  [Angrily.]

SIR JO.  O Lord, sir, by no means, but I might have saved a hundred pound: I meant innocently, as I hope to be saved, sir (a damned hot fellow), only, as I was saying, I let him have all my ready money to redeem his great sword from limbo.  But, sir, I have a letter of credit to Alderman Fondlewife, as far as two hundred pound, and this afternoon you shall see I am a person, such a one as you would wish to have met with—

SHARP.  That you are, I’ll be sworn.  [Aside.]  Why, that’s great and like yourself.