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Inter. You are a merciful general : our general bids you answer to what I shall ask you out of a note.
Par. And truly, as I hope to live.
Inter. First, demand of him, how many horse the duke is strong. What say you to that ?
Par. Five or fix thousand, but very weak and unserviceable; the troops are all scatter'd, and the commanders very poor rogues, upon my reputation and credit, and as I hope to live.
Inter. Shall I set down your answer so?
Par. Do, l'll take the sacrament on't, how and which way you will : all's one to me.
Ber. What a past-saving slave is this !
i Lord. Y’are deceiv’d, my lord, this is monsieur Parolles, the gallant militarist (that was his own phrase) that had the whole theory of war in the knot of his scarf, and the practice in the chape of his dagger.
2 Lord. I will never trust a man again for keeping his sword clean, nor believe he can have every thing in him by wearing his apparel neatly
Inter. Well, that's set down.
Par. Five or fix thousand horse I said, I will say true, or thereabouts set down, for I'll speak truth.
i Lord. He's very near the truth in this.
Ber. But I con him no thanks for’t, in the nature he delivers it.
Par. Poor rogues, I pray you, fay.
Par. I humbly thank you, sir: a truth's a truth, the rogues are marvellous poor.
Inter. Demand of him of what strength they are a-foot. What say you to that?
Par. By my troth, sir, if I were to live but this present hour, I will tell true. Let me see; Spurio a hundred and fifty, Sebastian so many, Corambus so many, Jaques so many; Guiltian, Cosmo, Lodowick, and Gratii, two hundred and fifty each; mine own company, Chitopher, Vaumond, Bentii, two hundred and fifty each:
so that the muster file, rotten and sound, upon my life, amounts not to fifteen thousand poll; half of the which dare not shake the snow from off their cafsocks, left they shake themselves to pieces.
Ber. What shall be done to him?
i Lord. Nothing, but let him have thanks. Demand of him my conditions, and what credit I have with the duke.
Inter. Well, that's set down. You shall demand of him, whether one captain Dumain be i'th' camp, a Frenchman; what his reputation is with the duke, what his valour, honesty, and expertness in war; or whether he thinks it were not possible with well-weighing sums of gold to corrupt him to a revolt. What say you to this ? what do you know of it?
Par. I beseech you, let me answer to the particular of the interrogatories : demand them fingly.
Inter. Do you know this captain Dumain ?
Par. I know him; he was a botcher's prentice in Paris, from whence he was whipp'd for getting the sheriff's fool with child, a dumb innocent, that could not say him, nay.
Ber. Nay, by your leave, hold your hands; though I know his brains are forfeit to the next tile that falls.
Inter. Well, is this captain in the duke of Florence's camp?
i Lord. Nay, look not so upon me, we shall hear of your lordship anon.
Inter. What is his reputation with the duke?
Par. The duke knows him for no other but a poor officer of mine; and writ to me the other day to turn him out o'th'band. I think, I have his letter in my pocket.
Inter. Marry, we'll search.
Par. In good sadness, I do not know; either it is there, or it is upon a file with the duke's other letters in my tent.
Inter. Here ʼtis, here's a paper ; shall I read it to you?
Par. That is not the duke's letter, sir; that is an advertisement to a proper maid in Florence, one Diana, to take heed of the allurement of one count Rousillon, a foolish idle boy, but, for all that, very rúttish. I pray you, sir, put it up again.
Inter. Nay, I'll read it first, by your favour.
Par. My meaning in't, I proteft, was very honest in the behalf of the maid; for I knew the young count to be a dangerous and lascivious boy, who is a whale to virginity, and devours up all the fry it finds. Ber. Damnable! both sides rogue.
Interpreter reads the letter.
After he scores, he never pays the score :
He ne'er pays after-debts, take it before.
a cat to me.
Ber. He shall be whip’d through the army with this rhyme in his forehead.
2 Lord. This is your devoted friend, fir, the manifold linguist and the armipotent foldier.
Ber. I could endure any thing before but a cat, and now he's Inter. I perceive, fir, by the general's looks, we shall be fain
Par. My life, fır, in any case ; not that I am afraid to die, but that, my offences being many, I would repent out the remainder of nature: let me live, fir, in a dungeon, i'th' stocks, any where, so I may live.
to hang you,
Inter. We'll see what may be done, soyou confess freely; therefore once more to this captain Dumain : you have answer'd to his reputation with the duke, and to his valour : what is his honesty? Par. He will steal, sir, an egg out of a cloister: for rapes
and ravishments he parallels Nelus: he professes not keeping of oaths; in breaking them he is stronger than Hercules : he will lie, fir, with such volubility, that you would think truth were a fool: drunkenness is his best virtue, for he will be swine-drunk; and in his sleep he does little harm, save to his bedcloths about him; but they know his conditions, and lay him in straw. I have but little more to say, sir, of his honesty: he has every thing that an honest man should not have; what an honest man should have, he has nothing.
i Lord. I begin to love him for this.
Ber. For this description of thine honesty ? a pox upon him for me! he is more and more a cat.
Inter. What say you to his expertness in war ?
Par. 'Faith, fir, h’as led the drum before the English tragedians: to belie him I will not; and more of his soldiership I know not; except in that country, he had the honour to be the officer at a place there callid Mile-end, to instruct for the doubling of files. I would do the man what honour I but of this I am not certain.
I Lord. He hath out-villain'd villany so far that the rarity redeems him.
Ber. A pox on him! he's a cat still.
Inter. His qualities being at this poor price, I need not to ask you, if gold will corrupt him to revolt.
Par. Sir, for a quart-d’ecu he will sell the fee-simple of his salvation, the inheritanceof it, and cut th’intail from all remainders, and a perpetual succession in it perpetually.
Inter. What's his brother, the other captain Dumain?
Par. E'en a crow o'th' fame nest; not altogether so great as the first in goodness, but greater a great deal in evil. He excels his
brother for a coward, yet his brother is reputed one of the best that is. In a retreat he outruns any lackey; marry, in coming on he has the cramp.
Inter: If your life be saved, will you undertake to betray the Florentine?
Par. Ay, and the captain of his horse, count Roufillon. Inter. I'll whisper with the general, and know his pleasure.
Par. I'll no more drumming; a plague of all drums! Only to seem to deserve well, and to beguile the supposition of that lascivious young boy the count, have I run into danger: yet who would have suspected an ambush where I was taken? [afide.
Inter. There is no remedy, fir, but you must die: the general says, you that have so traiterously discovered the secrets of your army, and made such peftiferous reports of men very nobly held, can ferve the world for no honest use; therefore you must die. Come, headsman, off with his head.
Par. O lord, sir, let me live, or let me see my death.
[unbinding him. So, look about you; know you any here?
Ber. Good morrow, noble captain.
2 Lord. Captain, what greeting will you to my lord Lafeu ? I am for France.
i Lord. Good captain, will you give me a copy of that fame sonnet
writ to Diana in behalf of the count Roufillon? if I were not a very coward, I'd compel it of you; but fare you
(Exeunt. Inter. You are undone, captain, all but your scarf; that has a knot on't yet.
Par. Who cannot be crush'd with a plot?
Inter. If you could find out a country where but women were that had receiv’d so much shame, you might begin an impudent nation. Fare you well, sir, I am for France too; we shall speak of you there.
[Exit. Vol. II.
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