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Enter ITHAMORE and FRIAR. Fri. Virgo, salve. ITHA. When duck you? ABIG. Welcome, grave friar; Ithamore begone.
[Erit Ithamore. Know, holy sir, I am bold to solicit thee.
FRI. Wherein ?
ABIG. To get me be admitted for a nun.
Fri. Why, Abigail, it is not yet long since
That I did labour thy admission,
And then thou didst not like that holy life.
ABIG. Then were my thoughts so frail and un-
And I was chain'd to follies of the world :
But now experience, purchased with grief,
Has made me see the difference of things.
My sinful soul, alas, bath pac'd too long
The fatal labyrinth of misbelief,
Far from the Son that gives eternal life.
Fri. Who taught thee this?
ABIG, The abbess of the house, Whose zealous admonition I embrace: Ob, therefore, Jacomo, let me be one, Although unworthy of that sisterhood.
Fri. Abigail, I will, but see thou change no more, For that will be most heavy to thy soul.
Adig. That was my father's fault.
Fri. Thy father's! how?
Abig. Nay, you shall pardon re: oh, Barabas, Though thou deservest hardly at my hands,
Yet never shall these lips bewray thy life.
Fri. Come, shall we go?
ABIG. My duty waits on you.
Enter BARABAS, reading a letter.
BAR. What, Abigail become a nun again?
False and unkind; what, hast thou lost thy father?
And all unknown, and unconstrain’d of me,
Art thou again got to the nunnery?
Now here she writes, and wills me to repent.
Repentance! Spurca! what pretendeth this?
I fear she knows ('tis so) of my device
In Don Mathias' and Lodovico's deaths :
If so, 'tis time that it be seen into :
For she that varies from me in belief,
Gives great presumption that she loves me not;
Or loving, doth dislike of something done.
But who comes here? Oh, Ithamore, come near;
Come near, my love; come near, thy master's life,
My trusty servant, nay, my second life;
For I have now no hope but even in thee :
And on that hope my happiness is built :
When saw'st thou Abigail ?
Itha. To day.
BAR. With whom?
ITHA. A friar.
Bar. A friar ! false villain, he hath done the deed.
ITHA. How, sir ?
Bar. Why, made mine Abigail a nun.
ltha. That's no lie, for she sent me for him.
BAR. Oh, unhappy day!
False, credulous, inconstant Abigail !
But let 'em go: And, Ithamore, from hence
Ne'er shall she grieve me more with her disgrace;
Ne'er shall she live to inherit aught of mine,
Be blest of me, nor come within my gates,
But perish underneath my bitter curse,
Like Cain by Adam, for his brother's death.
Irha. Oh, master!
Bar. Ithamore, intreat not for her, I am mov'd, And she is hateful to my soul and me: And least thou yield to this that I intreat, I cannot think but that thou hat'st my life.
Itua. Who, I, master ? Why, I'll run to some
rock and throw myself headlong into the sea; why,
I'll do any thing for your sweet sake.
Bar. Oh trusty Ithamore! no servant, but my
I here adopt thee for mine only heir,
All that I have is thine when I am dead,
And whilst I live use half : spend as myself ;
Here take my keys, I'll give 'em thee anon:
Go buy thee garments: but thou shalt not want:
Only know this, that thus thou art to do:
But first go fetch me in the pot of rice
That for our supper
Itua. I hold
master's hungry: I go, sir.
[Exit. Bar. Thus every villain ambles after wealth
Although he ne'er be richer than in hope:
But hush 't.
Enter Ithamore, with the pot.
Itha. Here 'tis, master.
BAR. Well said, Ithamore; what, hast thou
brought The ladle with thee too?
Itha. Yes, sir, the proverb says, he that eats with the devil had need of a long spoon; I have brought you
a ladle. BAR. Very well, Ithamore, then now be secret; And for thy sake, whom I so dearly love, Now shalt thou see the death of Abigail, That thou may'st freely live to be my heir.
Itha. Why, master, will you poison her with a mess of rice porridge, that will preserve life, make her round and plump, and batten more than you are aware.
Bar. Aye, but Ithamore seest thou this?
It is a precious powder that I bought
Of an Italian, in Ancona, once,
Whose operation is to bind, infect,
And poison deeply: yet not appear
In forty hours after it is ta’en.
Itha. How, master ?
Bar. Thus, Ithamore :
This even they use in Malta here, 'tis callid
Saint Jaques' Even, and then I say they use
To send their alms unto the nunneries :
Among the rest bear this, and set it there;
There's a dark entry where they take it in,
Where they must neither see the messenger,
Nor make enquiry who hath sent it them.
ITHA. How so?
Bar. Belike there is some ceremony in't. There, Ithamore, must thou go place this pot: Stay, let me spice it first.
Itha. Pray do, and let me help you master. Pray let me taste first.
Bar. Pry'thee do: what say'st thou now?
ITHA. Troth, master, I'm loth such a pot of pottage should be spoil'd.
Bar. Peace, Ithamore, 'tis better so than spar'd. Assure thyself thou shalt have broth by the eye. My purse, my coffer, and myself is thine.
Itha. Well, master, I go.
Bar. Stay, first let me stir it, Ithamore,
As fatal be it to her as the draught
Of which great Alexander drunk, and died :
And with her let it work like Borgia's wine,
Whereof his sire, the pope, was poison'd.
In few, the blood of Hydra, Lerna's bane;
The juice of Hebon, and Cocytus' breath,
And all the poisons of the Stygian pool
Break from the fiery kingdom ; and in this
Vomit your venom, and invenom her
That like a fiend hath left her father thus.