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so that I cannot fight, I must be plain, above three combats a day. All the kindness I can show him is to set him resolvedly in my roll the two hundred and thirteenth man, which is something; for, I tell you, I think there will be more after him than before him ; I think so. Pray you commend me to him, and tell him this. Exit Gentleman. Gent. I will, sir; good morrow to you.
Bes. Good morrow, good sir.-Certainly my safest way were to print myself a coward, with a discovery how I came by my credit, and clap it upon every post. I have received above thirty challenges within this two hours: Marry, all but the first I put off with engagement; and, by good fortune, the first is no madder of fighting than I; so that that's referred. The place where it must be ended is four day's journey off, and our arbitrators are these: he has chosen a gentleman in travel, and I have a special friend with a quartain ague, like to hold him this five years, for mine; and when his man comes home we are to expect my friend's health. If they would send me challenges thus thick, as long as I lived, I would have no other living; I can make seven shillings a day o' th' paper to the grocers. Yet I learn nothing by all these but a little skill in comparing of styles: I do find evidently that there is some one scrivener in this town, that has a great hand in writing of challenges, for they are all of a cut, and six of 'em in a hand; and they all end 'My reputation is dear to me and I must
require satisfaction.'-Who's there? more paper, I hope. No, 'tis my lord Bacurius; I fear, all is not well betwixt us.
Bac. Now, Captain Bessus! I come about a frivolous matter, caused by as idle a report: You know you were a coward.
Bes. Very right.
Bac. And wrong'd me.
Bes. True, my lord.
Bac. But now, people will call you valiant; desert. lessly, I think; yet, for their satisfaction, I will have you fight with me.
Bes. Oh, my good lord, my deep engagements--Bac. Tell me not of your engagements, Captain Bessus! It is not to be put off with an excuse. For my own part, I am none of the multitude that believe your conversion from coward.
Bes. My lord, I seek not quarrels, and this belongs
not to me; I am not to maintain it.
Bac. Who then pray?
Bes. Bessus the coward wrong'd you.
Bes. And shall Bessus the valiant maintain what Bessus the coward did?
Bac. I pr'ythee leave these cheating tricks! I swear
thou shalt fight with me, or thou shalt be beaten extremely, and kick'd.
Bes. Since you provoke me thus far, my lord, I will fight with you; and, by my sword, it shall cost me twenty pounds, but I will have my leg well a week sooner purposely.
Bac. Your leg! why, what ails your leg? I'll do a cure on you. Stand up! Kicks him.
Bes. My lord, this is not noble in you.
Bac. What dost thou with such a phrase in thy mouth? I will kick thee out of all good words before I leave thee. Kicks him.
Bes. My lord, I take this as a punishment for the offence I did when I was a coward.
Bac. When thou wert? Confess thyself a coward still, or, by this light, I'll beat thee into sponge.
Bes. Why, I am one.
Bac. Are you so, sir? and why do you wear a sword, then? Come, unbuckle ! quick!
Bes. My lord?
Bac. Unbuckle, I say, and give it me; or, as I live, thy head will ache extremely.
Bes. It is a pretty hilt; and if your lordship take an affection to it, with all my heart I present it to you for a new-year's-gift.
Gives his sword, with a knife in the scabbard. Bac. I thank you very heartily, sweet captain! Farewell.
Bes. One word more: I beseech your lordship to
render me my knife again.
Bac. Marry, by all means, captain.
Gives him back the knife. Cherish yourself with it, and eat hard, good captain: we cannot tell whether we have any more such. Adieu, dear captain. Exit.