Will you weare any weapons to daye?

More entertaining conversation from John Florio. This time a man visits his friend at home and waits while he dresses. Florio provides some really lovely detail about clothing, and gives us a glimpse into the daily lives of Londoners in late 16th Century London. The conversation takes place between Mr Nolano, Mr Torquato, and the servant, Ruspa. It is entitled ‘of rising in the morning, and of things belonging to the chamber’.

Nolano: What ho, M Torquato, will you lye a bed all day?
Torquato: Who is there? Who calleth me? Who asketh for me?
Nolano: A friend of yours. Are you up?
Torquato: M Nolano, I pray you, excuse me. Ile be with you by and by.
Nolano: Rise at your leisure, for I will stay for you.
Torquato: The doore is open, will it please you to come in?
Norlano: God give you good morrow.
Torquato: The like to you, you are very heartily welcome.
Norlano: Are you not ashamed to lie a bed so long?
Torquato: I was not asleep, I was slumbering.
Norlano: How have you rested this night?
Torquato: Well, but I have had many dreadfull dreames. What ho, Ruspa, come hither, where art thou? What art thou doing?
Ruspa: Here I am. What lacke you?
Torquato: Open that window and give me my clothes.
Ruspa: What apparell will you have this day?
Torquato: First give me a clean shirt, one of the fine ones.
Ruspa: There are but two that be cleane.
Torquato: Where be all the others?
Ruspa: The laundress hath fix of them.
Torquato: Dispatch and give me a shirt.
Ruspa: With what band with you have it?
Torquato: With a falling band [a band or flat collar worn around the neck].
Ruspa: There is none.
Tarquato: Give me one with ruffes then.
Ruspa: Here is one with ruffes.
Tarquato: Give me my wastecote.
Ruspa: Which will you have, that of flannell?
Tarquato: No, give me that which is knit.
Ruspa: What sute of apparell will you weare today?
Torquato: That of white satten, laide on with gold lace.
Ruspa: That lacks I know not how many buttons.
Torquato: Set them on then by and by.
Ruspa: I have neither needle, thred, nor thimble.
Tarquato: Mr Nolano, think not the time long, Ile be with you presently.
Nolano: In the meane while I will reade this booke.

Here follows an inventory of all Tarquato’s clothes. Presumably to assist the reader in learning the Italian names. He owns:

A long gown furr’d with Martines, a furr’d gown, a night gown of chamlet [a fabric made from Angora], a rugge gowne, a cloake lined with bayes, a cape cloak of fine cloth, a riding cloake of broad-cloth, two doublets, one coate, one velvet Jerkin, one Spanish leather jerkin, one of beaver and the other of felt, and two velvet caps.

He also owns shoes:

Two payre of bootes, one of Spanish, the other of neates leather, one payre of spurrs, three payre of boote hose, one payre of pumps and pantofles [a sort of indoor shoe], and a payre of night slippers.

The inventory continues with:

A dozen shirtes, two of handkerchers, and as many falling bands of lawne, eight ruffes bandes with their hand cuffs, four towels, six wipers [flannels], eight quoifes [night cap or skull cap], ivory combes, cisors, eare pickers and other knacks [nick nacks].

Back to the conversation:

Ruspa: Will you weare shooes or buskins to daye?
Tarquato: Give me the shooing horne, to pull on my shooes. Tye my poynts [laces] with slyding knotts but not with fast knotts.
Ruspa: What girdle will you have?
Torquato: Reach me that of blew velvet embroydered.
Ruspa: Will you weare any weapons to daye?
Torquato: Give me my sword and dagger.
Ruspa: Take this rapier, for it is lighter.
Torquato: Reach me the combe, to combe my beard.
Ruspa: Everie thing is in the case upon the window.
Torquato: Where be my gloves? I see them not.
Ruspa: You forgot them in some place yesternight.
Torquato: What ho, Ruspa, bring hither some drinke.
Ruspa: What would you have Master?
Torquato: Bring some wine, and a manchet [a loaf of fine bread], and
a napkin. Wash the glasses verie well.
Ruspa: Anon, anon, Ile come by and by.
Torquato: Pour out some wine and give me a drinke.
Nolanto: I marvell how you can drinke so earlie. I drinke very
seldome between meales.
Torquato: It is good to drinke in a morning to charme the mist.
Ruspa: Will your worship have anything else?
Torquato: Give me my cap and gird my sword about me.
Nolano: This cloake becommeth you verie well.
Ruspa: Shall I goe with you?
Torquato: No, dresse up the Chamber and laye everything in his place.
Nolano: I pray you let us lose no more time.
Torquato: I am readie, goe before and I will followe you. What ho, boy,
come after me.
Ruspa: I come, but first I will shut the dore.
Torquato: Lock it with the key
Ruspa: Fast binde, fast finde.
Torquato: And he that shuts well, avoydeth ill luck.

Next time, admiring a man’s lodgings, and a dinner party.

More from Florio: Let us make a match at tennis and Master Andrew, will it please you to eate an egg?


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