The Devil's Law-case
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Enter ROMELIO in the habit of a Jew.ROMELIO:
Excellently well habited! Why, methinks
That I could play with mine own shadow now.
And be a rare Italianated Jew;
To have as many several change of faces,
As I have seen carv'd upon one cherry stone;
To wind about a man like rotten ivy,
Eat into him like quicksilver, poison a friend
With pulling but a loose hair from's beard, or give a drench,
He should linger of't nine years, and ne'er complain,
But in the spring and fall, and do the cause
Imputer to the disease natural. For slight villainies,
As to coin money, corrupt ladies' honours,
Betray a town to'th Turk, or make a bonfire
A'th' Christian navy, I could settle to't,
As if I had eat a politician,
And digested him to nothing but pure blood.
But stay, I lose myself, this is the house.
Enter TWO SURGEONS.FIRST SURGEON:
You are the men of art, that as I hear,
Have the Lord Contarino under cure.
Yes sir, we are his surgeons,
But he is past all cure.
Why, is he dead?
He is speechless sir, and we do find his wound
So fester'd near the vitals, all our art
By warm drinks, cannot clear th'imposthumation;
And he's so weak, to make [incision]
By the orifix were present death to him.
He has made a will I hear.
And deputed Jolenta his heir.
He has, we are witness to't.
Has not Romelio been with you yet,
To give you thanks, and ample recompense
For the pains you have tane.
Listen to me gentlemen, for I protest
If you will seriously mind your own good,
I am come about a business shall convey
Large legacies from Contarino's will
To both of you.
How sir? Why Romelio
Has the will, and in that he has given us nothing.
I pray attend me: I am a physician.
A physician? Where do you practise?
O then you have store of patients.
Store? Why look you, I can kill my twenty a month
And work but i'th' forenoons: you will give me leave
To jest and be merry with you; but as I said,
All my study has been physic; I am sent
From a noble Roman that is near akin
To Contarino, and that ought indeed,
By the law of alliance, be his only heir,
To practice his good and yours.
How I pray sir?
I can by a extraction which I have,
Though he were speechless, his eyes set in's head,
His pulse without motion, restore to him
For half an hour's space, the use of sense,
And perhaps a little speech: having done this,
If we can work him, as no doubt we shall,
To make another will, and therein assign
This gentleman his heir, I will assure you,
'Fore I depart this house, ten thousand ducats,
And then we'll pull the pillow from his head,
And let him e'en go whither the religion sends him
That he died in.
Will you give's ten thousand ducats?
Upon my Jewism.
The traverse is drawn, revealing CONTARINO in a bed.SECOND SURGEON:
'Tis a bargain sir, we are yours:
Here is the subject you must work on.
Well said, you are honet men,
And go to the business roundly: but gentlemen,
I must use my art singly.
O sir, you shall have all privacy.
And the doors lock'd to me.
At your best pleasure.
Yet for all this, I will not trust this Jew.
Faith, to say truth, I do not like him neither,
He looks like a rogue. This is a fine toy,
Fetch a man to life, to make a new will:
There's some trick in't. I'll be near you, Jew.
Excellent, as I would wish, these credulous fools
Have given me freely what I would have bought
With a graet deal of money. --Softly, here's breath yet;
Now Ercole, for part of the revenge,
Which I have vow'd for thy untimely death:
Besides this politic working of my own,
That scorns precedent. Why, should this great man live,
And not enjoy my sister, as I have vow'd
He never shall? O, he may alter's will
Every new moon if he please; to prevent which,
I must put in a strong caveat. Come forth then,
My desperate stiletto, that may be worn
I a woman's hair, and ne'er discover'd,
And either would be taken for a bodkin,
Or a curling iron at most; why 'tis an engine
That's only fit to put in execution
Barmotho pigs; a most unmanly weapon,
That steals into a man's life he knows not how.
O that great Caesar, he that pass'd the shock
Of so many armed pikes, and poison'd darts,
Swords, slings, and battleaxes, should at length,
Sitting at ease on a cushion, come to die
By such a shoemaker's awl as this, his soul let forth
At a hole no bigger than the incision
Made for a wheal! 'Uds foot, I am horribly angry
That he should die so scurvily: yet wherefore
Do I condemn thee thereof so cruelly,
Yet shake him by the hand? 'Tis to express
That I would never have such weapons us'd,
But in a plot like this, that's treacherous:
Yet this shall prove most merciful to thee,
For it shall preserve thee from dying
On a public scaffold, and withal
Bring thee an absolute cure, thus.
So, 'tis done:
And now for my escape.
Enter SURGEONS.FIRST SURGEON:
You rogue mountebank,
I will try whether your inwards can endure
To be wash'd in scalding lead.
Hold, I turn
Nay, prithee be a Jew still;
I would not have a Christian be guilty
of such a villainous act as this is.
I am Romelio the merchant.
You have prov'd yourself a cunning merchant indeed.
You may read why I came hither.
In a bloody Roman letter.
I did hate this man,
Each minute of his breath was torture to me.
Had you forbourne this act, he had not liv'd
This two hours.
But he had died then,
And my revenge unsatisfied. Here's gold;
Never did wealthy man purchase the silence
Of a terrible scolding wife at a dearer rate,
Than I will pay for yours. Here's your earnest
In a bag of double ducats.
Why look at you sir, as I do weigh this business,
This cannot be counted murder in you by no means.
Why, 'tis no more than should I go and choke
An Irishman that ere three quarters drown'd,
With pouring usquebath in's throat.
You will be secret?
As your soul.
The West Indies shall sooner want gold, than you then.
That protestation has the music of the
How unfortunately was I surpris'd!
I have made myself a slave perpetually
To these two beggars.
By this act he has made his estate ours.
I'll presently grow a lazy surgeon, and
ride on my footcloth. I'll fetch from him every eight
days a policy for a hundred double ducats; if he grumble,
But let's take heed he do not poison us.
O, I will never eat or drink with him,
Without unicorn's horn in a hollow tooth.
Did he not groan?
Is the wind in that door still?
Ha! Come hither, note a strange accident:
His steel has lighted in the former wound,
And made free passage for the congealed blood.
Observe in what abundance it delivers
Methinks he fetches
His breath very lively.
The hand of heaven is in't,
That his intent to kill him should become
The very direct way to save his life.
Why this is like one I have heard of in England,
Was cur'd a'th' gout, by being rack'd i'th' Tower.
Well, if we can recover him, here's reward
On both sides. Howsoever, we must be secret.
We are tied to't.
When we cure gentlemen of foul diseases,
They give us so much for the cure, and twice as much
That we do not blab on't. Come, let's to work roundly,
Heat the lotion, and bring the searing.
Exploring The Waste Land
File date: Sunday, September 29, 2002