Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: Laurence Twine
Editors: Tom Bishop, Andrew Forsberg
Not Peer Reviewed

Twine: The Pattern of Painful Adventures (Quarto)


99THE ELEVENTH CHAPTER.

100How after the death of Ligozides the nurce Dionisiades envying at the beautie of Tharsia, conspired her death, which should have been accomplished by a villaine of the countrey.

101THARSIA much lamented the death of Ligozides her nurce, and caused her bodie to be solemnly buried not farre of, in a field without the walles of the citie, and mourned for her an whole yeere following. But when the yeare was expired, she put off her mourning attire, and put on her other apparel, and frequented the schooles, and the studie of liberall Sciences as before. And whensoever she returned from schoole, she would receive no meate before she had visited her nurce's sepulchre, which she did daily, entring thereinto, and carrying a flagon of wine with her, where she used to abide a space, and to call uppon her father and mother. Now on a day it fortuned, that as she passed through the street with Dionisiades, and her companion Philomacia, the people beholding the beautie and comlinesse of Tharsia, said: "Happy is that father that hath Tharsia to his daughter, but her companion that goeth with her, is foule and evill favoured." When Dionisiades heard Tharsia commended, and her owne daughter Philomacia so dispraised, shee returned home wonderfull wroth, and withdrawing her self into a solitary place, began thus secretly to discourse of the matter. "It is now fourteen yeares since Apollonius this foolish girles father departed from hence, and he never sendeth letters for her, nor any remembrance unto her, whereby I conjecture that he is dead. Ligozides her nurce is departed, and there is no bodie now of whom I should stande in feare, and therefore I will now slay her, and dress up mine owne daughter in her apparell and jewels."

102When shee had thus resolved her selfe uppon this wicked purpose, in the mean while there came home one of their countrey villaines called Theophilus, whom shee called, and said thus unto him: "Theophilus, my trustie friend, if ever thou looke for libertie, or that I shoulde doe thee pleasure, doe so much for me as to slay Tharsia." Then said Theophilus: "Alas mistresse, wherein hath that innocent maiden offended, that she should be slaine?" Dionisiades answered, "Shee innocent! nay she is a wicked wretch, and therefore thou shalt not denie to fulfill my request, but doe as I commaund thee, or els I sweare by god thou shalt dearely repent it." "But how shall I best doe it, Mistres?" said the villaine. Shee answered: "shee hath a custome, as soone as shee returneth home from Schoole, not to eate meat before that she have gone into her Nurce's sepulchre, where I would have thee stand readie, with a dagger drawn in thine hand; and when she is come in, gripe her by the haire of the head, and so slay her: then take her bodie and cast it into the Sea, and when thou hast so done, I will make thee free, and besides reward thee liberally." Then tooke the villaine a dagger, and girded himselfe therewith, and with an heavy heart and weeping eies went forth towards the grave, saying within himselfe, "Alas poore wretch that I am, alas poore Theophilus that canst not deserve thy libertie but by shedding of innocent bloud," and with that hee went into the grave and drue his dagger, and made him readie for the deede.

103Tharsia was now come from schoole, and made haste unto the grave with a flagon of wine as shee was wont to doe, and entred within the vault. Then the villaine rushed violently upon her, and caught her by the haire of the head, and threw her to the ground. And while he was now readie to stab her with the dagger, poore silly Tharsia all amazed casting her eies upon him, knew the villain, and holding up her handes, said thus unto him: "O, Theophilus against whom have I so greevously offended, that I must die therefore?" The villaine answered, "Thou hast not offended, but thy father hath, which left thee behind him in Stranguilios house with so great a treasure in mony, and princely ornaments." "O," said the mayden, "would to god he had not done so: but I pray thee Theophilus, since there is no hope for me to escape with life, give mee licence to say my praiers before I die." "I give thee licence said the villaine, and I take god to record that I am constrained to murther thee against my will."