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Enter Portia, Neriffa, Lorenzo, Jeffica, and Belthazar.
Lor.MADAM, although I fpeak it in your prefence,
have a and a true conceit
But, if you knew to whom you show this honour,
Por. I never did repent of doing good,
Lor. Fair thoughts and happy hours attend on you!
Por. I thank you for your wifh, and am well pleas'd
To wish it back on you: fare you well, Jeffica. [Exe. Jef. & Lor.
As I have ever found thee honeft, true,
So let me find thee ftill: take this fame letter,
And use thou all th' endeavour of a man,
In fpeed to Padua; fee thou render this
Into my coufin's hand, doctor Bellario;
And, look, what notes and garments he doth give thee,
Bring them, I pray thee, with imagin'd speed
Which trades to Venice: wafte no time in words,
Ner. Shall they fee us?
Por. They fhall, Neriffa; but in fuch a habit,
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE. 57
And wear my dagger with the braver grace;
Like a fine bragging youth; and tell quaint lies,
Ner. Shall we turn to men?
Por. Fie! what a question's that,
Enter Launcelot, and Jeffica.
Laun. Yes, truly: for, look you, the fins of the father are to be lay'd upon the children; therefore, I promise you, I fear you. I was always plain with you; and fo now I fpeak my agitation of the matter: therefore be of good cheer; for, truly, I think, you are damn'd: there is but one hope in it that can do you any good; and that is but a kind of bastard-hope neither.
Jef. And what hope is that, I pray thee?
Laun. Marry, you may partly hope that your father got you not, that you are not the Jew's daughter.
Jef. That were a kind of baftard-hope, indeed: fo the fins of my mother should be vifited upon me.
Laun. Truly, then, I fear, you are damn'd both by father and mother: thus when you fhun Scylla, your father, you fall into Charibdis, your mother: well, you are gone both ways.
Jef. I fhall be faved by my husband; he hath made me a christian.
Laun. Truly, the more to blame he; we were christians enough before, e'en as many as could well live one by another: this making of chriftians will raise the price of hogs; if we grow all to be porkeaters, we shall not fhortly have a rasher on the coals for money.
Jef. I'll tell my husband, Launcelot, what you fay: here he
Lor. I fhall grow jealous of you shortly, Launcelot, if you thus get my wife into corners.
Jef. Nay, you need not fear us, Lorenzo; Launcelot and I are out: he tells me flatly, there is no mercy for me in heav'n, because I am a Jew's daughter: and he fays, you are no good member of the commonwealth; for, in converting Jews to chriftians, you raise the price of pork.
Lor. I fhall answer that better to the commonwealth than you can the getting up of the negro's belly: the Moor is with child by you, Launcelot.
Laun. It is much that the Moor fhould be more than reason: but if fhe be less than an honeft woman, fhe is, indeed, more than I took her for.
Lor. How every fool can play upon a word! I think, the best grace of wit will fhortly turn into filence; and discourse grow commendable in none but parrots. Go in, firrah, bid them prepare for dinner.
Laun. That is done, fir; they have all stomachs.
Lor. Good lord, what a witsnapper are you! then bid them prepare dinner.
Laun. That is done too, fir; only cover is the word.
Laun. Not fo, fir, neither; I know my duty. Lor. Yet more quarrelling with occafion! wilt thou show the whole wealth of thy wit in an instant? I pray thee, understand a plain man in his plain meaning: go to thy fellows, bid them cover the table, ferve in the meat, and we will come in to dinner.
Laun. For the table, fir, it fhall be ferv'd in; for the meat,
In reafon he should never come to heav'n.
Why, if two gods fhould play fome heav'nly match,
Lor. Even fuch a husband
Haft thou of me, as fhe is for a wife.
Jef. Nay, but afk my opinion too of that.
Jef. Well, I'll fet you forth.