Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Twine: The Pattern of Painful Adventures (Quarto)


116THE FOURTEENTH CHAPTER.

117How Tharsia withstoode a second assault of her virginitie, and by what means she was perserved.

118WHEN night was come the master bawd used always to receive the money which his women had gotten by the use of their bodies the day before. And when it was demaunded of Tharsia, she brought him the mony, as the price and hire of her virginitie. Then said the bawd unto hir: "It is wel doone Tharsia: use diligence hencefoorth, and see that you bring mee thus much mony every day." When the next day was past also, and the bawd understoode that she remained a virgin stil, he was offended, and called unto him the villaine that had charge over the maides, and said unto him: "Sirra, how chanceth it that Tharsia remaineth a virgin still? Take her unto thee, and spoile her of her maidenhead, or be sure thou shalt be whipped." Then said the villaine unto Tharsia, "tel me, art thou yet a virgin?" She answered, "I am, and shalbe as long as god will suffer me." "How then," said he, "hast thou gotten all this mony?"

119She answered, with teares falling downe upon her knees, "I have declared mine estate, humbly requesting all men to take compassion on my virginitie. And nowe likewise, falling then downe at his feete also, take pitty on me, good friend, which am a poore captive, and the daughter of a king, and doe not defile me." The villaine answered: "Our master the bawd is very covetous and greedie of money, and therefore I see no meanes for thee to continue a virgin." Whereunto Tharsia replied: "I am skilful in the liberal sciences, and well exercised in all studies, and no man singeth or playeth on instruments better than I, wherefore bring mee into the market place of the citie that men may heare my cunning. Or let the people propound any maner of questions, and I will resolve them: and I doubt not but by this practise I shall get store of money daily." When the villaine heard this devise, and bewailed the maiden's mishappe, he willingly gave consent thereto, and brake with the bawd his master touching that matter, who hearing of her skill, and hoping for the gaine, was easily perswaded.

120Now when she was brought into the market place, all the people came thronging to see and heare so learned a virgin, before whom shee uttered her cunning in musicke, and her eloquence in speaking, and answered manifestly unto all such questions as were propounded unto her with such perspicuitie, that all confessed themselves fully satisfied, and she wonne great fame thereby, and gained great summes of money. But as for Prince Athanagoras, he had evermore a speciall regard in the preservation of her virginitie, none otherwise than if she had been his owne daughter, and rewarded the villaine very liberally for his diligent care over her.