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Enter Portia, Neriffa, Lorenzo, Jessica, and Belthazar.
You have a noble and a true conceit
my lord your husband,
Por. I never did repent of doing good,
For mine own part,
Until her husband and my lord's return.
love and some necessity Now lay upon you.
Lor. Madam, with all my heart;
Por. My people do already know my mind,
Lor. Fair thoughts and happy hours attend on you !
for your wish, and am well pleas'd To wish it back on you: fare you well, Jeffica. [Exe. Jes. & Lor. Now, Balthazar, 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 speed to Padua; see thou render this Into my cousin's hand, doctor Bellario; And, look, what notes and garments he doth give thee, Bring them, I pray thee, with imagin'd speed Unto the traject, to the common ferry Which trades to Venice : waste no time in words, But get thee gone; I shall be there before thee.
Bal. Madam, I go with all convenient speed. [Exit. Por. Come on, Nerissa; I have work in hand That you yet know not of: we'll see our husbands Before they think of us.
Ner. Shall they fee us?
Por. They shall, Nerissa; but in such a habit,
I'll prove the prettier fellow of the two,
Ner. Shall we turn to men ?
Por. Fie! what a question's that,
Enter Launcelot, and Jessica. Laun. Yes, truly: for, look you, the sins 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 so now I speak 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. Jes . And what hope is that, I pray
thee? Laun. Marry, you may partly hope that your father got you
you are not the Jew's daughter.
Jes. That were a kind of bastard-hope, indeed : so the fins of my mother should be visited upon me.
Laun. Truly, then, I fear, you are damn'd both by father and mother : thus when you shun Scylla, your father, you fall into Charibdis, your mother: well, you are gone both
ways. Jes. I shall be saved 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 christians will raise the price of hogs; if we grow
all to be porkeaters, we shall not shortly have a rasher on the coals
Lor. I shall grow jealous of you shortly, Launcelot, if you thus get my wife into corners.
Jej. 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 says, you are no good member of the commonwealth ; for, in converting Jews to christians, you raise the price of pork. Lor. I shall 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 should be more than reason: but if she be less than an honest woman, she 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 shortly turn into silence; and discourse grow commendable in none but parrots. Go in, sirrah, bid them prepare for dinner.
Laun. That is done, fir; they have all stomachs.
Laun. That is done too, fir; only cover is the word.
Laun. Not so, sir, neither; I know my duty.
Lor. Yet more quarrelling with occasion! 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, sir, it shall be serv'd in; for the meat, fir, it shall be covered; for your coming in to dinner, sir, why, let it be as humours and conceits shall govern. [Exit Laun.
Lor. O dear discretion, how his words are suited!
Jef. Past all expressing: it is very meet
such a blessing in his lady,
Lor. Even such a husband
. Nay, but ask my opinion too of that.
. Nay, let me praise you while I have a stomach.
I shall digest it.