Collaborative play writing/The Countess of Challand/Act 3

Act 3. Scene 1. Mansino's palace

Enter Pompina and Alicia

Alicia. I do not find that cheer of countenance On you we were once wont to see each day.

Pompina. I grant you, no.

Alicia. A burden I may lighten?

Pompina. Unlikely if you try another year.

Alicia. We missed you at the banquet. Where were you?

Pompina. Sea-dreaming without sail or cable.

Alicia. To make me fear for you at last. I saw You ambling in the dust along the way Of cemetery roads.

Pompina. There I find comfort.

Alicia. While sitting on the stones that warm us when We think of those below.

Pompina. Bones all of yesterday in boxes, or Dug out involuntarily, dispersed Where cypresses cast down beneath their leaves The darkness I most wish. A man arrived Late, at the ninth hour, digging. I thought he Looked cheering, where the flashing birds and clouds Bestreaked the panting grass, as then it seemed, With a becoming coolness. All the stones Of dinless death looked still and beautiful.

Alicia. You gazing out as sadly as the stones.

Pompina. I am composed of sadness. That away, I fall. I sang aloud while sunbeams raged And a jay deftly dropped on monuments I fondly gazed on. It then shook its head At my head, rapt by my perusal of Its face, as if inviting me to sink Where others are, where some most hope to be. The grave-stone, on which I was leaning square In fondest meditation, chilled me then, Until it seemed my heart must freeze and stop, Lay quieter, still in that darker place, Which made me pant, as if some lover grazed My hips invitingly.

Alicia. Our master bids me come to fetch you back.

Pompina. I own no master but what I saw there.

Alicia. I must not understand you for my peace.- The master's worried countess hurrying!

Exit Alicia and enter Bianca

Bianca. Is my Mansino here?

Pompina. No, madam, he is dead to me at last.

Bianca. So soon!

Pompina. Not dead indeed.

Bianca. Then never say that word of him again.

Pompina. The prettiest I heard yet.

Bianca. I may believe such things tomorrow noon.

Pompina. He is well.

Bianca. Because he is, I am not. Fetch him here.

Pompina. Indeed, you look not well.

Bianca. The snapping of each twig is cannon-shot. Feel my sides, look inside each pupil, say Whether it is no carp's, and sickening

Pompina. True, true.

Bianca. Such feelings rarely borne with any hope Of life hereafter!

Pompina. I cannot graft your branch of life to mine, So withered as it is. What keeps you from Your rest by day or night?

Bianca. What else? A man, Pompina.

Pompina. A plague I have escaped from merrily.

Bianca. Mansino does not love me anymore.

Pompina. Why do you think so?

Bianca. Not serviceable to my wishes as That lover showed but yesterday in bed.

Pompina. There it begins.

Bianca. One morning without love is like a week Without once washing face or tasting meat.

Pompina. Should one decide to love.

Bianca. Eternity of hell when we are left Without love for one day!

Pompina. Mansino once loved you: agreed, what then?

Bianca. The count of Baizzo, too.

Pompina. The count of Baizzo!

Bianca. Mansino's worthiest, most religious friend!

Pompina. I often gaze at him.

Bianca. Ah, ah, more than I have done recently.

Pompina. Do you sink, madam?

Bianca. Not so low as I wish.

Pompina. Almost as low as dust inside a grave?

Bianca. That.

Pompina. Should I reveal some cheerful entertainments My master has indulged in since you left?

Bianca. I am block-deaf to anything but grief, Which like a sinner's crucifix I kiss, To understand no object of this world.

Pompina. I can reveal a garden-full of herbs And deadly violets to disperse such thoughts.

Bianca. Show me your master first.

Pompina. I may prevail yet to down others' hopes.

Exit Pompina and enter Baizzo

Baizzo. What was at first my pool of joy is turned Into the viper drinking out of it.

Bianca. Ha! Do you speak to me?

Baizzo. Mansino-

Bianca. I know him now as your particular friend, More than I ever hope to lie with you.

Baizzo. I cannot be the end of him and hope To thrive in love or life.

Bianca. I have been told Mansino is not dead.

Baizzo. True.

Bianca. Why?

Baizzo. A friend-

Bianca. Your friend is my foe, worse than even this A deadly one, so that to let such friends Survive is to condemn your closer friend, Whom you pretend to love with many words, To infamy and death, because you know I have been promised to his utmost rage.

Baizzo. I will not let you lie exposed to him.

Bianca. Destroy Mansino, or else he kills me.

Baizzo. To flee the country with you by my side!

Bianca. So that I may enjoy the airs of love, The breath of cowards?

Baizzo. What should I do?

Bianca. Despair to press this bosom on your own.

Baizzo. To say more would make lovers desperate In disbelief or sadness.

Exit Baizzo and enter Mansino

Bianca. I once considered love the source of all Life's torments, but yet seeing comeliness Dressed in the shape of man, my knowledge fails. Ah, stupor! What had I to do with men? I should for greater safety have recourse To lions, quiet in their boneless den. My spring of misery so bitter to Unwary palates as we sip in it!

Mansino. I see someone before me I once thought I knew or even loved a little while.

Bianca. Despair of me at once: contempt is mine, Scorn and belittling: press down very hard, Not in love's frenzies, but with tools of rage, Heed little of my sufferings to come, But rather your dishonor caused by me.

Mansino. Beast in fine clothes! O, rotten loveliness!

Bianca. Continue, batter all points home with blows, Drop me away from sight in having hurt A man so rare, a loved one so despised.

Mansino. Had you one reason to complain of me?

Bianca. O, no, a perfect lover.

Mansino. I'll raise my voice to belfry-daws, not you, Insatiate countess, wider than your grave. Moles eat worms, which eat us: prepare to mix With both or either.

Bianca. I should not speak-

Mansino. (striking her No?

Bianca. Except condemn myself worse than you can, But yet I have been foully cheated, too.

Mansino. Because your soul is bad, you think all men And women worse than rebels ever were.

Bianca. Someone has made a mockery of love To my despite. Moreover, you know him.

Mansino. Who?

Bianca. I'll so far risk to be my executioner. I in some manner played with him, let lust Indulge on moieties of all my charms.

Mansino. Do I live to hear this?

Bianca. It therefore followed that, beholding your Friend's purpose, I became incensed: he laughed, Revealing he wished to befriend me with Or without all my wishes. I scorned him.

Mansino. But yet an evil strumpet scorned me first.

Bianca. Let blows with curses be my punishment, Not lost of love. At last the man took me.

Mansino. Hah?

Bianca. Dragged me, beshreaded, shamefully to bed.

Mansino. I know the way.

Bianca. I do not wonder that your patience blinks Till seeking arms against a friend's misdeed. For my part, I abandon sex awhile,

Unless it be to lie in company Of street-kept curs, far gentler than your friend.

Mansino. I am your bull. I will forgive you thus: Not murder you immediately. I have Heard of an engine, strange, awash in tears, That has much wrought on man, political And deadly, sparing no limb for a cause I will henceforth receive as mine or die.

Bianca. My shame applauds you.

Mansino. Look here: blood on the hedges of your gown.

Bianca. Too true.

Mansino. Your own?

Bianca. Spilled by your friend, for which my face will burn Whenever I see naked men upright.

Mansino. I will know mankind only in his pains, Not joy at any time.

Bianca. Then know his name.

Mansino. My ears will swallow it.

Bianca. Count Baizzo.

Mansino. You are mistaken.

Bianca. Oh, no. The man who raped me is called so.

Mansino. My thoughts are quite unfit for company.

Exit Bianca and enter Agostino

I'll have him bleed each morning. Let him speak Whatever he will, I refuse to hold.

Agostino. You speak perhaps of friends turned into foes.

Mansino. I do, a man you know about: Baizzo.

Agostino. I know worse traitors in my family.

Mansino. The worst way! Treachery: see how you will Be guerdoned. I'll be at you night and day, Tie not-to-be-loosened knots around your purse Of lust, force you to act out pleasures, then Wring you for them. Salute next morning as Your last delight on earth, first to be put To flames and pincers, rarely to be thought On without pained amazement for whole days.

Agostino. Ho, is this wise, my lord?

Mansino. I think so. He will wish himself out of The world, yet, by unhappiness' choice, I lose past question in revenge a friend And gain- what? a loose strumpet. Dearest friends: So were you called before you lost all-worth After all-lust!

Agostino. Forgive him if you wish forgiveness yours.

Mansino. Should I? A sore that rankles on my eyes Which must be rid of? Yet I have a friend. Is it that way with me? I will forgive. I have no other friend, not one who will Avenge himself with me for any cause Of mine with sword or word. Were I lodged thick In blocks of ice beneath the devil's horn, I would forgive. I know no other friend, So solitary-foolish has my life Wrought on me unawares. Forgotten, love! Strange, desolate, I walk among the crags Of wasting paths and gorges: will I not Bend downward to that rill, the difference Between a dying life and living death?

Agostino. I think one does much good in pardoning.

Mansino. Though lizards spawn a thousand eggs in it, I will lay broken lips on that stream's course. Forgiving, I possess a friend, not sport. I may possess a woman at will. So, What worth has she that I should sacrifice My peace for her? For coins a woman's mine, And for another all my neighbor-friends'. Ha, comfort is their care, security Their hope and love, but danger they abhor, While danger is my very element.

Agostino. What need of torment for a wobbly shelf? Wrench out each nail and screw from rotting boards.

Mansino. I'll keep my friend, although he nicks my love With rapier-points. Let thoughts of love end here: I will expire at least more manfully.

Exeunt Mansino and Agostino

Act 3. Scene 2. A brothel

Enter Voga and Noce-Moscata

Voga. What, do you lurch and faint?

Noce-Moscata. Much worse than when I tumbled in my muck.

Voga. In back-streets all night naked and alone?

Noce-Moscata. Yes.

Voga. You arrive home.

Noce-Moscata. Where?

Voga. To a house that revives.

Noce-Moscata. O, I am famished.

Voga. Here you will eat and thrive.

Noce-Moscata. What will I do for it?

Voga. Very little. Love men.

Noce-Moscata. Am I inside a brothel?

Voga. A finer one than what your mood implies.

Noce-Moscata. All those forever lewd and infamous!

Voga. Because we give men pleasure?

Noce-Moscata. I have no wish to please men or myself.

Voga. O then, you cannot stay with us one hour.

Noce-Moscata. Will I eat before working?

Voga. Do they like us scrawny? You will be allowed to chew on more than what you have a stomach to.

Noce-Moscata. Lead on.

Voga. Within there! Find someone to serve you the best of the month.

Exit Noce-Moscata and enter Torbido

Torbido. A new face! I like that.

Voga. Timorous, I fear, but some like them just so.

Torbido. A virgin perhaps?

Voga. Likely so, to our profit.

Torbido. Indeed, money is the theme of this place as of most. If we make money, then the work is well, no matter how it is done. "People judge according to the end," remarked Boethius, so that, defending his position, I speculate that the only end of an enterprise is money.

Voga. One can tell you have studied long.

Torbido. At Padua, I discovered my vocation as a brothel-master, thanks to which you and I thrive, as near splendor as the modest learn to expect.

Voga. Granted. If not for this hostel, I would have failed to become the woman I am, covered with more than linen, as any may scrutinize.

Torbido. Necessarily. Nahum heard that God reveals our parts to the world: so you did, so you receive rewards, thereby have you won, your source of luck and fame.

Voga. Retrieved from dirt to glitter in some sort.

Torbido. From jellies of turd even.

Voga. Up mounting to the hill of prosperity, from where I gaze wondering at the less fortunate below.

Torbido. Highly deserved among the brach or breach of troops of women, because you have been a main whore in our time.

Voga. Now, more exquisitely, a purveyor of whores.

Torbido. Many declare your authority as supreme, including myself on most conscious days.

Voga. Because whoredom is the fashion now.

Torbido. It is, to the point we must compete for the least scrap among them, I mean legs, faces, the most cherished demeanor. What do you think of the newer one? Does she promise to do more than she ought or can?

Voga. I cannot tell as yet.

Torbido. Like Esther, let her make much of virginity.

Voga. The most and best.

Torbido. Hold, one of our luckiest birds entering, I see, or wishing to!

Enter Vago

Voga. By my stays and rings, Master Vago!

Vago. I have been called so.

Torbido. Is that not your name, vaunting sir?

Vago. Some have said so without fear to be scorned.

Voga. In any case, a man of fashion, who enters knowing we resolutely abide by fashion.

Vago. You may interpret so, to which, for my part, I have no further objection.

Torbido. What is your hope today, hah? A pink-faced, pink-buttocked one? A youngish crack? Sturdy?

Voga. All those and more, if any such remain.

Torbido. Millions!- no, not millions, but some of choice, lauded by many of our priests, worth a million of them elsewhere, some rarely chosen, however, since man is gross, rarely recognizing the diamond even amid mounds of rubbish.

Vago. Then I agree with you.

Voga. Were I younger, sir, I would be tempted to try your body for my own satisfaction.

Vago. Were I older, madam, so would I, if allowed to say so without being accused of any sort of pretension.

Torbido. But she is very taken now with work Of a more elevated kind.

Vago. None higher than where pricks point highest. Otherwise, how would Mistress Voga be acknowledged inside the parish if not outside as quintessently precious to the most inclined?

Voga. You flatter me, but I cannot blush, despite having tried once.

Torbido. Almost all women of her generation are afflicted so, their daughters even worse, so that the man of today can no longer be called Pygmalion but his statue, stonily astonished only with looking at their countenance.

Vago. Indeed, I am constantly surprised at the fact that women look on my face now.

Torbido. Instead of their own paps, as once they did.

Vago. Or at ants scurrying over their shoe-tops.

Torbido. Modesty, ashamed, has flown forever from the world. In my days of youth, not so long ago, whores were decent. We kept demure babblers who knew the grace of arm and leg. Rarely would any give man the lip, sneer, cheat, or otherwise lose inherent rectitude or female wholesomeness. Look at our browless brawlers now! Their forheadless boldness injures me. But I forget myself. I mean to sell such charms, do I not?

Vago. You regret the old time as a matter of course.

Torbido. Yes, I regret that, for it has made my brothel-house coarser and more unbecoming somehow.

Vago. Nevertheless, I stand upright and transfixed while you talk, Torbido.

Torbido. What is your wish?

Vago. What do you mean? I'm in a brothel, am I not?

Torbido. And therefore you have choice of plenty, sir.

Vago. Should I walk in and then decide at will?

Torbido. Serenely, as men of your kind wish.

Vago. I am not used to being hurried to My favorite positions without proof Of favoring the meritable.

Torbido. Peep out your main head ere the other one At what lies deep within.

Voga. I much expect it.

Re-enter Noce-Moscata, eating

Vago. My dream!

Noce-Moscata. My nightmare!

Torbido. Can she be trusted for man's thrusting now?

Voga. We will observe that very carefully.

Vago. Your hand, fine mistress?

Noce-Moscata. No.

Voga. Look at other men besides your father. You have heard before of such creatures as men, I presume?

Noce-Moscata. Yes.

Voga. Look fixedly at such and by them rise.

Noce-Moscata. Should I not wait for them to lift high first?

Vago. We require help.

Voga. Study their functions, their ins and outs, before quitting.

Noce-Moscata. I do not want to.

Voga. You are inside a whore-house, are you not?

Noce-Moscata. I am.

Voga. Then to succeed you should please to the core.

Torbido. Are you a virgin?

Noce-Moscata. Yes.

Voga. I will determine the truth of that.

Torbido. News that should lighten pockets, sir.

Vago. Expected, as I breathe.

Torbido. Do you study me, novelty? This night you coddle fortune.

Noce-Moscata. I wish I could without once coddling him.

Voga. Begin by kissing him immodestly.

Vago. (kissing Noce-Moscata I'll close with her.

Noce-Moscata. (farting Too near by any measure!

Torbido. What horrible form of accosting is This now? Hah, hah? Have I seen such before?

Vago. You are aware of dangers I incur? What if my nose were nearer?

Torbido. Assure me of your charge, my Voga. Is She capable at least of mimicking A woman's pleasure?

Vago. Do you cast doubt on my ability To shoot desires in women?

Torbido. No, who can stand before such flames of love, Who can abide their fierceness and renown? The rock of chastity is broken down To split asunder as the sparks rush in.

Voga. We all expect that.

Torbido. Come, enter in our rooms, prepared so that All men and women rest, as pleased with love As their own self.

Exeunt Torbido, Voga, Vago, and Noce-Moscata

Act 3. Scene 3. Agostino's house

Enter Agostino and Clara

Agostino. Gone?

Clara. Gone, gone. Did you not urge that course?

Agostino. Well satisfied.

Clara. Not I.

Agostino. O, such do well enough.

Clara. Such?

Agostino. I mean the headstrong. Do I not bear pains Enough as steward of Mansino's will, Whose house depends on Argus-vigilance? Weep when you anger me, not when we lose Forever such a daughter as she proved To be, shame to our age, in our grass gorse.

Exeunt Agostino and Clara