Collaborative play writing/The Countess of Challand/Act 5

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Act 5. Scene 1. The duke of Bourbon's palace

Enter the duke of Bourbon and Servilio, lame, carrying a pole

Bourbon. I had not thought such deeds were of this world.

Servilio. Too frightfully so.

Bourbon. Henceforth, let faults of modern youth receive Inventions in their kind, most modern deaths, For then the old rest tranquilly and safe, Rejoicing in a lifetime's laboring. Moreover, we find here youth striking youth: How should this end unless we strike as hard As any of them do? Then swiftly down!

Servilio. Should I administer the pole on him Before first knowing what we long to hear?

Bourbon. Why not, considering what he has done, What he continues not to say, when he Acknowledges guilt on his own head, not His brother's, most unlikely to a judge Uncertain of his brain, he standing right Beside the corpse in fear of officers? Pietro holds out long as we lose time, When we might give to others what we strive To render, justice, that elusive dame, Whose hands we kiss, speak well of, knowing well Few of her secrets enter in men's ears. When I consider that youth's name, I stand Dumb, almost disbelieving what I know, Pietro di Cardona, out of whose House I once kissed his father! What downfall From father to son in these times of waste!

Servilio. My lord, you know I have in liberty Both loved and honored you beyond mere points Of duty since I left disgraced and hurt Through no fault of my own Bianca's house, The countess of Challand in course of ill. Permit one lowly to advise your grace To quit this evil purpose, if allowed On mouth of menials. Can we hope to trick Law to our side by knocking bones from flesh? Despite contrarities caused by this case, I think it far more witty of your grace To pardon murder than to punish him In blood and bone without first knowing him.

Bourbon. Then you presume too overfar in this. I'll make- I swear, O Christ!- examples of Both murderers to render felons mad, So that such crimes will likely not be seen Or heard of in Christ's Italy again.

Servilio. Yet torture never will do so, nor pains And torments marry frighted peacefulness.

Bourbon. I do not know that. Show the rebel now.

(Pietro, bound on a wheel, is revealed

Servilio. I hold the instrument to maim, yet I Sweat danker still, in secret wiping tears Behind each post, than my own prisoner.

Bourbon. He who weeps for a traitor is himself The garden-rill of treasons, into which Men enter, parched, go out refreshed for more.

Servilio. Then I am quiet.

Bourbon. Because you are all mine in duty, I Will let mere ignorance slip for a time, But never yet presume to faze me in my court.

Servilio. Then I am dumber, almost frozen dead.

Bourbon. Have you repented, boldest- by my faith- Of any murderer I saw this year?

Pietro. I have, to priests invited in my cell, Whose sacrament has often pardoned me, Though hearing louder than entreaties of A better life veins throb within my ears In fear of what may yet become of me.

Bourbon. You have deserved worse pains than men think of, To be in some sort compensated for.

Pietro. I beg for mercy.

Bourbon. I should not laugh and will not. Death deserves

Death, I allow, without consulting books.

Pietro. May it please your grace to give it to me?

Bourbon. So soon? O, no, for then we are too fierce Against our subjects. Did your brother kill The other man?

Pietro. No.

(Servilio strikes him

Pietro. O! O! O! O!

Servilio. I think his arm is broken.

Bourbon. Enough. Remove the liar from our sight Till he stops crying for his fractured arm.

(Servilio draws the curtain

Our further pleasure will be known to all Before tomorrow noon. Tear-happy boy, I knew your father's faith, whose like on earth No man will hope to see again. Know that Extending mercies to such duellists Is cruelty to millions: husbands, wives, Sons, daughters, never to be known or seen.

Servilio. I'll study that before I ponder more.

Exeunt Bourbon and Servilio

Act 5. Scene 2. A street

Enter Decio and Agostino

Agostino. Do you regret our night of love, when man Was smitten gentler than he ever was?

Decio. No.

Agostino. Can we stay longer without being caught?

Decio. Each evening when my neighbors do the same.

Agostino. I guess we should try that, in an effort of labor often repeated.

Decio. One of my neighbors burned for it.

Agostino. At all costs trust in each other, without fear or hope of gain in condemning others in our place to that awful pile of wood.

Decio. Our bodies deserve each other's, not the executioner's.

Agostino. Are we not born for pleasure?

Decio. More than that, fulfilled, completed when we match.

Agostino. My thought exactly, riding by this way.

Decio. What of your wife?

Agostino. Unsuspecting, as I guess.

Decio. She may perform with others what you do To her, a tale we often read about.

Agostino. There my cap tightens, yet I should not sit And mope when I may lie below a man Who does for me what women never can.

Decio. Is it not she?

Agostino. She knows you as my friend. Make friends with her And we are safer than two babies are Inside a crib with parents by the fire.

Exit Agostino and enter Clara

Decio. Do you regret our night of love, when man Was smitten gentler than he ever was?

Clara. Do I regret being born?

Decio. Can we stay longer without being caught?

Clara. Easily, my husband being either blinded by fat eyelids of self-bloating or the small-growing shrub any woman's fingers fashion or clear off as she hopes.

Decio. I guess we should try, in an effort of labor often repeated.

Clara. Beware: one of our neighbors was caught for it.

Decio. Above all, trust in each other, without fear or hope of recompense by condemning others to the post.

Clara. Agreed.

Decio. Are we not sent to earth for pleasure's sake?

Clara. I always thought so.

Decio. Not your husband?

Clara. Blind goats may sooner mind my walk and turns.

Decio. He may achieve with others what you do To him in secret.

Clara. So, what of that? I should not sleep awake At night when I may on a pallet lie To feel beneath what husbands rarely pour.

Decio. He knows me as a friend, which I will prove To be, we safer than two babies are Inside a crib with parents by the fire.

Exeunt Decio and Clara

Act 5. Scene 3. The brothel

Enter Torbido and Voga

Torbido. There lacks but man to make of girlhood's frame More certainly an enviable slut.

Voga. She is instructed without book, but yet Acknowledged by some to be of the best.

Torbido. You are yourself a book, by cardinals Approved, with few amendments of The doctrines some abhor when misapplied.

Voga. But yet we lack some man of enterprise To let her feel where she ought what she learnt From mouth to ear.

Torbido. I have requested one we welcome well.

Voga. Who?

Torbido. Fierce Riccardatto, love's most sudden knight, Extended to all ages, likened to Unwearied Solomon on throne or bed.

Voga. O, O, he will so pierce her! Well have you Reflected on her needs, but mostly ours.

Torbido. Do I not rise like Jeroboam, great With sin and power in a little realm?

Enter Riccardatto

Riccardatto. You called me from my duties.

Torbido. Not for a trifle, Riccardatto. Hear.

Riccardatto. The newest one, I guess.

Voga. New and companionless, unless your heart- Perhaps I should not call the member so- Can pity her, of clearest virgins she, Most beauteous to amaze since first I pushed Advancement of poor maidens in the town.

Riccardatto. A virgin? Fuco! Is there any left In Italy?

Torbido. Assure your manhood it is justly so.

Riccardatto. Not when next spoken to, not even if Her father bearing swords on either hand Stood staring by.

Torbido. Did I not say the man's an enemy To women's artfulness?- Do you have gold?

Riccardatto. Some coins.

Torbido. Yours. Do not mind her coyness.

Riccardatto. I rarely do.

Exit Riccardatto

Voga. Ho, we are made.

Torbido. Already I am heavy with his gold.

Enter Agostino

Agostino. Sir, if it may please you to answer, are we in a brothel?

Torbido. Yes, sir, the least melancholy, the daintiest of choice in the parish.

Agostino. I thought so. Then I am here.

Voga. Your pleasure, sir?

Agostino. Yes, if you please.

Voga. How may two knowing ones best serve desire?

Agostino. We lie inside a brothel, do we not?

Torbido. Yes, sir, this way.

(Cries within

Agostino. Who cries out over there?

Voga. A timid one you may indulge with soon,

If I have judgment of a maiden blush.

Torbido. If you please to follow in all cases Voga, sir, a woman who has made gentlemen proven to be honorable her most perfect study, as I have very often observed, they and I rarely tasting unripe fruit.

Agostino. I have never been here before, not in any, as you may partly guess.

Torbido. O, no.

Agostino. Is is so, nevertheless.

(More cries within

Agostino. I do not know whether I like or may

Enjoy such cries this day.

Voga. A distraction, sir, in the way of passing, like the wind and dust, too trivial to be talked about by any man capable of thought or appointed to legislate.

Torbido. A transitory event entirely, no part of studies, whose like Erasmus would never trouble with.

Voga. A man of note is winding a whore's clock to where it should strike.

Torbido. Will it please you to enter in this room,

Jerusalem in pilgrimage of love?

Agostino. Will I see one undress?

Voga. Yes, sir, without fail.

Agostino. Her underclothes held to the knees awhile,

Then dropping to the floor?

Torbido. That may be done, I guess.

Agostino. I will whisper to her what my wife often neglects to do, to my discomfort. I will have the woman stand before me, almost naked, then, as I said, in a somewhat leisurely fashion, slip down some of her undergarments, then let them fall, she still standing, and gazing at me. Perhaps it will be best were she standing on a chair, unless you, as master of this place, object to that or more in that fashion.

Torbido. I rarely do.

Agostino. Let her keep standing on a chair, I say.

Torbido. We agree on the chair.

Agostino. With her shoes on.

Voga. With the shoes on. A contract!

Agostino. Let me dream awake awhile: what if she allows my kissing them? I would disburse a few pieces for that alone.

Torbido. Surely, few here will dispute with you for that privilege.

Agostino. Her head up, mine below, perhaps holding this glass. I'll shamelessly tell you why: to see her genitals reflected here.

Torbido. Voga, we find at last a man refined.

Voga. I did not doubt that as soon as the man First entered, also as a man allowed to be The promptest emptier of most vessels here.

Agostino. I'll have my face reflected there, too. You understand this, I hope? My beard in the mirror next to the double lips, bi-valved in their rosiness. I think I have made myself sagaciously clearer than most on such points. Refinements? I guess a man's heart possesses some, should he be open to experience and curious to know the world.

Voga. We guessed aright.

Re-enter Riccardatto, naked and bloody

Torbido. The valiant treads in scarlet, by no means Abashed, in manhood's bravest raiment decked.

Voga. I knew he would.

Torbido. Having cropped no doubt forever the nutmeg flower.

Agostino. Noce-Moscata? My daughter?

Riccardatto. Some novel brothel-trick?

Agostino. You wear her blood, so will I smile in yours. (stabbing him

Riccardatto. Ha! Ha! I am unarmed except with what Should never cross a sword.

Agostino. And yet it will cross mine.

Torbido. Hold.

Voga. O, hold, hold!

(They hold Agostino while Riccardatto escapes

Torbido. How, murder in my house?

Voga. That may not be.

Agostino. I'll turn my anger next on you.- My own?

Exit Agostino

Torbido. Egyptian troubles, Voga, brought on by

No god of pests and murder, as I live,

But by the merest girl, despite our pains!

Voga. We will disperse such locusts from the house.

Exeunt Torbido and Voga

Act 5. Scene 4. Agostino's house

Enter Clara and Decio

Clara. Hide, Decio. I fear Agonistino's rage When he discovers how we use his sheets.

Decio. Has he once spoken of his best friend as The foe of his night-cap? Has he found it Pierced in two places yet?

Clara. No, but he thinks perhaps his Clara roams.

Decio.. Discover what he knows while I sit by Beside his bed, to laugh a little here.

Exit Decio and enter Agostino

Agostino. Discovered, wife?

Clara. Hah?

Agostino. A wife still staring, scurrying about From kitchen to hall, guiltily, I fear!

Clara. Make it your wonder when considering I lost a daughter's love because of you.

Agostino. I saw this daughter.

Clara. Where? In a brothel?

Agostino. You are partly informed, I see. The traitress ran shouting out of the brothel, declining to be helped, refusing to go back with me.

Clara. I found the brothel, but not her. A man And woman- are they numbered of our sex?- Swore never to help such a lodger more, A sexless one detested worse than piles.

Agostino. Because of her, the mother seeks revenge.

Clara. I will deny that though you blink and rage.

Enter Decio

Decio. Who stares, who rages? Agostino, he, Among my friends the mellowest of all?

Clara. Not with the head on pillow, from where he Frets that his cap fits tighter than it did.

Agostino. A wife makes certain man's uncertainties. Some comfort, wisest Decio! Do you know Of any man who makes of me what I Abhor to think exists in Italy?

Decio. O, no, such wives are surely as safe To husbands as yourself to any wife.

Clara. A friend's opinion which the blankest dolt

Adheres to happily!

Agostino. I hear him, wife, but yet what man heeds truth Whenever heads are pinched so narrowly?

Clara. Should I not fearfully accuse you of The same? You go out nights I know not where.

Decio. To my house, as my Agostino swears, As I do, kissing any book you show.

Clara. Love's church-goers uncertainly believe In such an oath.

Decio. His friend as well as yours declares it is Precisely so. No more of these disputes!

Clara. Then all seems well perhaps.

Agostino. If not, I will pretend that all is well.

Decio. Become again what you are: husband, wife, Rejoicing in one bed, with Decio as Your most particular friend of the house.

Exeunt Agostino, Clara, and Decio

Act 5. Scene 5. The countess' palace

Enter Bianca and Riccardatto

Bianca. Do you refuse to go? What of my meat? How should I dally with my fingers when Unwilling to take out chess-pieces, in Distresses of hunger?

Riccardatto. All of your servants staggering in fear To be griped by the duke of Bourbon's men!

Bianca. Why?

Riccardatto. Because of murders many know about.

Bianca. Is not the culprit bound? Have we not heard The murderer has not yet even named His brother, much less me, the woman whom He loves so much beyond what men profess?

Riccardatto. We sweat in anguish to be broken flat Under the pole just for our lady's sake.

Bianca. Will you, my sturdiest, melt in pools of fear Beside the fire with summer sun so near To thaw night's grief? I promised you my bed. Have you forgotten? There a little pit's The sink of pleasures rarely thought about. You are my steward, meant to serve me best.

Riccardatto. Well, it is done.

Exit Riccardatto and enter Alicia

Bianca. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! A menial cannot tell The happiness that presently betides A countess of my state against all odds.

Alicia. We hear of no good fortune swimming here.

Bianca. She is the grossest stir-pot who cannot Feel instant pleasures in my instant weal.

Alicia. Since you took me in service after Count Mansino's death, I have known few indeed.

Bianca. How? Can one lie without one reason, girl?

Alicia. Let me first tally for your ladyship The cause of virtue's pleasures in this world: The sight of a good man who loves her well, Whom she loves equally and loyally.

Bianca. I am reminded of my mother's saws. If I thought as she did, I never would Drop skirt with virtue, never fuck at all. Hold here, because you err on your first throw.

Alicia. Where?

Bianca. The love you speak of never can exist, Which to us should be utmost cause of joy.

Alicia. How?

Bianca. No other joyance wrings me. Your boy-love I swing down from the hip.

Alicia. A downfall certain to make virtue weep.

Bianca. Let her but grow a little. You will be Of my mind after knowing what a girl Weeps for, mere love, a weed on a toad's back, Rid of at the first plunge, a sunbeam lost Between the foliage of dim forests, prunes Some pressure of the finger opens, to Decay for every gouger mouthing them. I know of nothing fitter to be cast Aside as chaff, if you have wit enough, But should love press you once, to prey on thoughts, Make you forget your meat-pies, to sleep on His breast, man's pillow metamorphosized Against our rest, O then he will become Your food, sleep, care, then you will understand How heavy is this mote, how busily He winds around one's neck so soothingly, To torture us in silk. I have fed full On juices of the apple and find them Already rotten. Merrily sing, love No man more than another to live long.

Alicia. Far better dead.

Bianca. Than hourly die of him? Rave when you lose A necklace or a shirt, not a man's heart. I bear a brain to make me soon forget The man I sleep under. Fetch bowls of wine: I have released Pietro from his wheel Inside forgetful turnings of my mind.

Alicia. Here.

Bianca. Ho, rarest vintage! I am richer, wench, My tears of mirth are diamonds, since I weep More often, knowing now what to weep for. Inside my garden, I profess to grow A tree of pleasure, watered by men's sweat, Who puff with weary-bloated purple face In their travails to yield me pitless fruits. I see whomever I wish, to do what I contemplate to do, where pleasure seeks To pleasure me, unknowing of the cares Of duties, gently stooping in his arms. I will tell you that my whole mind entire Will be myself, no beggar on love's stairs, Whose leavings serve to cook indifferent Sauce to unpleasured palate. I have known Some women learning inside marriage bonds To loathe their pleasures: such would be my case Were pleasure but the dog to duty's will. No, do not speak of duties- whoop! well, well. Cares, dull, dull cares, regard of government, Or marriage- pah! Whoop! Excellent wine! Piff, No care of state for me, I am alone.

Alicia. You may afford to say so, madam.

Bianca. True, do not touch my money or I kill. A block of folly spends all to end all, A dullard cannot bear a rich estate, But in a month's time, not so soon perhaps, Decays in gold, or drowns awash in pearls. Yield to some lady's chamber plates of gold, A pit of treasures: she then works for waste, She must. Let that alone and she drops off, A sorry branch. I bear a brain alone.

Alicia. If always thus alone, when serves a brain?

Bianca. I have my tinsels, I rejoice in glass, Well pleased with what it sees, my hands caress Some books and parchments, glanced at or for show, I tongue my spicy wine, some steamy bowl Of delicacies, fowls more rarely Espied in dishes than Arabian birds, So perfect is my growing. I have fed From pewters never sucked on to king's tooth, Worn heavy vestments women seldom dare To dream about, all which philosophers Say cannot yield us happiness. Why not? They do. I am.

Alicia. I can believe you. No such fool as to Tread very richly yet unhappily!

Bianca. The pleasant life!

Re-enter Riccardatto with plates of food

So, we will eat today.

Riccardatto. A gentleman awaits your pleasure there.

Bianca. Who?

Riccardatto. I do not know him.

Bianca. Away with him!

Riccardatto. He says he will consent to freeze before Your gates before resigning from his watch.

Alicia. No doubt a fool unknowing of his state.

Bianca. Admit him.- Say I am no countess if I once prove kind to strangers.

Exit Riccardatto

Alicia. I see the gentleman before my face.

Bianca. Who is he?

Alicia. Bacchus.

Bianca. So do I, swimming.

Enter Carlo

Carlo. Do not think ill of one who wishes at This minute without ceremony to Speak with the countess of Challand alone.

Bianca. How! Stay, Alicia.

Carlo. I say, she will not.

Bianca. Insufferable at best! Who are you?

Carlo. That must you find here to your dearest cost.

Bianca. It is my will that my Alicia stays.

Carlo. (striking Alicia and drawing his sword Agreed.

Alicia. Ha! I will get help, madam..

Exit Alicia

Bianca. You hear my woman, by whose voice I will Behold you stuffed in bins of straw for this, Sent hurriedly in chains without cool drink By order of the duke of Bourbon to

His dankest and most putrid cell of shame.

Carlo. I come from there.

Bianca. I recognize my man in that. Then how Did you escape from where you will return?

Carlo. By fool-Pietro's constant fortitude.

Bianca. Pietro?

Carlo. You have forgotten him? Pietro, he Who died but yesterday, the puppet man Unable to use arm or leg, because Of you, his string-puller.

Bianca. Help, help!

Carlo. Ho, altogether needless. All your men Have been arrested by the duke, in whose House they will mournfully disrobe, To lie on boards all in a row, reveal How well they served the cuntess of Challand.

Bianca. O, miserable hour when our fly-sins Return so heavily to bite our necks!

Carlo. The duke of Bourbon is convinced of this At least: my innocence. His reasoning? Pietro's blood with some few bones bespread Below his wheel.

Bianca. That crazy madman bound his own arms there.

Carlo. (striking her

I say you are to blame.

Bianca. Indignities to me?

Carlo. Come, follow me for more and worse than more.

Bianca. No.

Carlo. (striking her No?

Bianca. First sheathe your sword, I beg.

Carlo. Not in my scabbard, in your body's core.

Exit Carlo dragging Bianca, enter Alicia and Riccardatto

Riccardatto. The gold is ours, I swear.

Alicia. How much?

Riccardatto. This bag complete to fullness.

Alicia. How?

Riccardatto. The brother pays us to take this and go.

Alicia. We will be followed by some officers.

Riccardatto. I'll seize that chance and laugh.

Alicia. Here lies perhaps a pleasant gown for me.

Riccardatto. A silken shirt for me.

Alicia. With this I free my brother of his debts.

Riccardatto. With this I free a virgin strumpet from Debaucheries of evil consequence, Which she, her loathsome father mocked away, Agrees on, though unwillingly at best.

(A scream within

Alicia. What scream is that?

Riccardatto. A sound I have forgotten.

Alicia. O, horrible! Some practice death nearby.

Riccardatto. Perhaps a sow well slaughtered.

Alicia. And yet the stranger hides a goodly face.

Riccardatto. He said with grace he meant all-good to her. I like him.

Alicia. Remind yourself you heard our mistress say She never must lack man on any day.

Riccardatto. The perfect lover on her bed of lust.

Alicia. I saw his sword flash, like a member out.

Riccardatto. A type of warning in the form of play.

(Another scream within

Alicia. Another!

Riccardatto. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!

Alicia. Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! I should laugh if you do.

Riccardatto. No doubt he strokes her well.

Alicia. What every woman wishes for at night.

Riccardatto. Haste speeding, do not let your brother rot.

Enter the duke of Bourbon and Servilio

Servilio. As I foretold: The killers with their gold.

Bourbon. They are arrested.

Alicia. O, pity us, your grace, mere servants here.

Servilio. We'll know the meaning of those cries of death.

Riccardatto. What cries?

Bourbon. Unbolt the door, Servilio.

(The countess of Challand's mutilated corpse is revealed with Carlo next to it

Unknown among you all?

Alicia. O, no, O, no! We thought she was amused.

Riccardatto. We thought he stroked her with a lover's hand.

Bourbon. And so he still does.- Trusted Carlo there!

Carlo. Yes, happy Carlo in some kind, your grace.

Bourbon. Out with the crying pair, Servilio, where Both will most dearly answer for their kind Of service rendered to a countess' weal, Charged with assisting that wet murderer.

Alicia. Assisting murder like a murder here In Italy! O, pity, pity yet!

Riccardatto. With luck, a priest and rope!

Bourbon. Next free the prisoner who, till this night, Night of his soul, slept with his mother in The pit of lust, then popped away her head.

Servilio. But why, your grace?

Bourbon. Do it, too quaint Servilio, on your life.

Exeunt Servilio, Riccardatto, and Alicia

My eyes burn, having spied too narrowly In this night-world, no tear left pearling yet. Caught, Carlo, whom I thought so sure of, bound, To be celled in his pool of slime and rot, More nearly questioned for this action than The brother ever cried and sweated for!

Carlo. I will expect it for this massacre, Performed on this, the cuntless of Challand.

Bourbon. Is there no reason for these deeds? If so, Discover or invent one at the least.

Carlo. No reason.

Bourbon. I will not wrinkle my brows deeper on Indifferent and careless humankind. Let subjects fatten on my subjects. Who Is not a murderer becomes my foe, Whom I will swallow deep in dungeons. I Will not believe in honest faces now. Whoever murders fathers is my friend, For such is now the matter of this world.

Carlo. Quite reasonable.

Bourbon. Tomorrow, I will work to hear your tale, But never with such straining as you will Be made to feel, worse pulls with every peg. More reasons! Give me reasons, false or true.

Exeunt the duke of Bourbon and Carlo