Act III. Scene I. The Principal Bridge At Florence.

[Enter Cromwell and Hodge in their shirts, and
without Hats.]

HODGE.
Call ye this seeing of fashions? Marry, would I had
stayed at Putney still. O, Master Thomas, we are
spoiled, we are gone.

CROMWELL.
Content thee, man, this is but fortune.

HODGE.
Fortune; a plague of this Fortune makes me go wetshod;
the rogues would not leave me a shoe to my feet. For my
hose, they scorned them with their heels; but for my Doublet
and Hat, O Lord, they embraced me, and unlaced me, and
took away my clothes, and so disgraced me.

CROMWELL.
Well, Hodge, what remedy? What shift shall we make now?

HODGE.
Nay, I know not. For begging I am naught, for stealing worse:
by my troth, I must even fall to my old trade, to the Hammer
and the Horse heels again: but now the worst is, I am not
acquainted with the humor of the horses in this country, whether
they are not coltish, given much to kicking, or no; for when I
have one leg in my hand, if he should up and lay tother on my
chops, I were gone: there lay I, there lay Hodge.

CROMWELL.
Hodge, I believe thou must work for us both.

HODGE.
O, Master Thomas, have not I told you of this? have not I many
a time and often said, Tom, or Master Thomas, learn to make a
Horse-shoe, it will be your own another day: this was not
regarded. Hark you, Thomas, what do you call the fellows that
robbed us?

CROMWELL.
The Bandetti.

HODGE.
The Bandetti, do you call them? I know not what they are called
here, but I am sure we call them plain thieves in England. O
Thomas, that we were now at Putney, at the ale there.

CROMWELL.
Content thee, man; here set up these two bills,
And let us keep our standing on the bridge:
The fashion of this country is such,
If any stranger be oppressed with want,
To write the manner of his misery,
And such as are disposed to succour him,
Will do it. What, hast thou set them up?

HODGE.
Aye, they're up; God send some to read them, and not only to
read them, but also to look on us; and not altogether to look on us,

[One stands at one end, and one at tother.]

But to relieve us. O cold, cold, cold.

[Enter Friskiball, the Merchant, and reads the bills.]

FRISKIBALL.
What's here? two Englishmen robbed by the Bandetti!
One of them seems to be a gentleman.
Tis pity that his fortune was so hard,
To fall into the desperate hands of thieves.
I'll question him of what estate he is.
God save you, sir; are you an Englishman?

CROMWELL.
I am, sir, a distress Englishman.

FRISKIBALL.
And what are you, my friend?

HODGE.
Who? I, sir? by my troth, I do not know my self what I am now,
but, sir, I was a smith, sir, a poor Farrier of Putney. That's my
master, sir, yonder. I was robbed for his sake, sir.

FRISKIBALL.
I see you have been met by the Bandetti,
And therefore need not ask how you came thus.
But, Friskiball, why doost thou question them
Of their estate and not relieve their need?
Sir, the coin I have about me is not much:
There's sixteen Ducats for to clothe your selves,
There's sixteen more to buy your diet with,
And there's sixteen to pay for your horse hire:
Tis all the wealth, you see, my purse possesses,
But if you please for to enquire me out,
You shall not want for ought that I can do.
My name is Friskiball, a Florence Merchant,
A man that always loved your nation.

CROMWELL.
This unexpected favour at your hands,
Which God doth know if ever I shall requite it--
Necessity makes me to take your bounty,
And for your gold can yield you naught but thanks.
Your charity hath helped me from despair;
Your name shall still be in my hearty prayer.

FRISKIBALL.
It is not worth such thanks. Come to my house;
Your want shall better be relieved then thus.

CROMWELL.
I pray, excuse me; this shall well suffice
To bear my charges to Bononia,
Whereas a noble Earl is much distressed:
An Englishman, Russell, the Earl of Bedford,
Is by the French King sold unto his death:
It may fall out, that I may do him good;
To save his life, I'll hazard my heart blood.
Therefore, kind sir, thanks for your liberal gift;
I must be gone to aide him; there's no shift.

FRISKIBALL.
I'll be no hinderer to so good an act.
Heaven prosper you in that you go about!
If Fortune bring you this way back again,
Pray let me see you: so I take my leave;
All good a man can wish, I do bequeath.

[Exit Friskiball.]

CROMWELL.
All good that God doth send light on your head;
There's few such men within our climate bred.
How say you now, Hodge? is not this good fortune?

HODGE.
How say you? I'll tell you what, master Thomas; if all
men be of this Gentleman's mind, let's keep our standings
upon this Bridge: we shall get more here with begging
in one day, than I shall with making Horseshoes in a
whole year.

CROMWELL.
No Hodge, we must begone unto Bononia,
There to relieve the noble Earl of Bedford:
Where, if I fail not in my policy,
I shall deceive their subtle treachery.

HODGE.
Nay, I'll follow you. God bless us from the thieving
Bandettoes again.

[Exit omnes.]
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