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Claud. He hath ta'en the infection; hold it up.
[ Aside. D. Pedro. Hath she made her affection known to Benedick?
Leon. No; and swears she never will: that's her torment.
Claud. 'Tis true, indeed; so your daughter says : Shall I, says she, that have so oft encounter'd him with scorn, write to him that I love him.?
Leon. This says she now when she is beginning to write to him: for she'll be up twenty times a night ; and there will she sit in her smock, till she have writ a sheet of paper:-my daughter tells
Claud. Now you talk of a sheet of paper, remember a pretty jest your daughter told us of.
Leon. Ő When she had writ it, and was reading it over, she found Benedick and Beatrice between the sheet?
Leon. O! she tore the letter into a thousand half-pence; railed at herself, that she should be so immodest to write to one that she knew would flout her: I measure him, says she, by my own spirit ; for I should flout him, if he writ to me; yea, though I love him, I should.
Claud. Then down upon her knees she falls, weeps, sobs, beats her heart, tears her hair, prays, curses :-- sweet Benedick! God give me patience!
Leon. She doth indeed; my daughter says so: and the ecstasyl hath so much overborne her, that my daughter is sometime afraid she will do a desperate outrage to herself; It is very true.
D. Pedro. It were good that Benedick knew of it by some other, if she will not discover it.
Člaud. To what end? He would make but a sport of it, and torment the poor lady worse. D. Pedro. An he should, it were an alms to hang (1) Alienation of mind..
him : she's an excellent sweet lady; and, out of all suspicion, she is virtuous.
Claud. And she is exceeding wise.
Leon. O my lord, wisdom and blood combating in so tender a body, we have ten proofs to one, that blood hath the victory. I am sorry for her, as I have just cause, being her uncle and her guardian.
D. Pedro. I would she had bestowed this dotage on me; I would have daff di all other respects, and made her half myself: I pray you, tell Benedick of it, and hear what he will say.
Leon. Were it good, think you?
Claud. Hero thinks surely, she will die: for she says, she will die if he love her not; and she will die ere she makes her love known: and she will die if he woo her, rather than she will 'bate one breath of her accustomed crossness.
D. Pedro. She doth well : if she should make tender of her love, 'tis very possible he'll scorn it; for the man, as you know all, bath a contemptible spirit.
Claud. He is a very proper man.
D. Pedro. He hath, indeed, a good outward happiness.
Claud. 'Fore God, and in my mind, very wise.
D. Pedro. He doth, indeed, show some sparks that are like wit.
Leon. And I take him to be valiant.
D. Pedro. As Hector, I assure you: and in the managing of quarrels you may say he is wise ; for either he avoids them with great discretion, or undertakes them with a most Christian-like fear.
Leon. If he do fear God, he must necessarily keep peace; if he break the peace, he ought to enter into a quarrel with fear and trembling.
D. Pedro. And so will he do; for the man doth
(1) Thrown off.
fear God, howsoever it seems not in him, by some large jests he will make. Well, I am sorry for your niece : shall we go see Benedick, and tell him of her love?
Claud. Never tell him, my lord ; let her wear it out with good counsel.
Leon. Nay, that's impossible ; she may wear her heart out first.
D. Pedro. Well, we'll hear further of it by your daughter; let it cool the wbile. I love Benedick well; and I could wish he would modestly examine himself, to see how much he is unworthy so good a lady.
Leon. My lord, will you walk? dinner is ready.
Claud. If he do not dote on her upon this, I will never trust my expectation.
(Aside. D. Pedro. Let there be the same net spread for her; and that must your daughter and her gentlewoman carry. The sport will be, when they hold one an opinion of another's dotage, and no such matter; that's the scene that I would see, which will be merely a dumb show. Let us send her to call him in to dinner.
(Aside. (Ereunt Don Pedro, Claudio, and Leonato.
Benedick advances from above. Bene. This can be no trick: the conference was sadly borne.l-- They have the truth of this from Hero. They seem to pity the lady; it seems, her affections have their full bent. Love me! why, it must be requited. I hear how I am censured: they say, I will bear myself proudly, if I perceive the love come from her; they say too, that she will rather die than give any sign of affection.—I did never think to marry :- I must not seem proud :Happy are they that hear their detractions, and can put them to mending. They say, the lady is fair; 'tis a truth, I can bear them witness : and yir
(1) Seriously carried on.
tuous ;—'tis so, I cannot reprove it; and wise, but for loving me :-By my troth, it is no addition to her wit ;-nor no great argument of her folly, for I will be horribly in love with her.-I may chance have some odd quirks and remnants of wit broken on me, because I have railed so long against marriage :-But doth not the appetite alter? A man loves the meat in his youth, that he cannot endure in his age: shall quips, and sentences, and these paper bullets of the brain, awe a man from the career of his humour? No: the world must be peopled. When I said, I would die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till I were married.--Here comes Beatrice :: By this day, she's a fair lady: I do spy some marks of love in her.
Enter Beatrice. Beat. Against my will, I am sent to bid you come in to dinner.
Bene. Fair Beatrice, I thank you for your pains.
Beat. I took no more pains for those thanks, than you take pains to thank me; if it had been painful, I would not have come. Bene. You take pleasure in the message ?
Beat. Yea, just so much as you may take upon a knife's point, and choke a daw withal :-You have no stomach, signior: fare you well. [Exit.
Bene. Ha! Against my will I am sent to bid you come to dinner—there's a double meaning in that. I took no more pains for those thanks, than you took pains to thank me—that's as much as to say, Any pains that I take for you is as easy as thanks :--If I do not take pity of her, I am a villain; if I do not love her, I am a Jew: I will go get her picture.
. SCENE I.-Leonato's Garden, Enter Hero,
Margaret, and Ursula. Hero. Good Margaret, run thee into the parlour; There shalt thou find my cousin Beatrice Proposing with the prince and Claudio : Whisper
her ear, and tell her, I and Ursula Walk in the orchard, and our whole discourse Is all of her; say, that thou overheard'st us ; And bid her steal into the pleached bower, Where honey-suckles, ripen'd by the sun, Forbid the sun to enter ;--like favourites, Made proud by princes, that advance their pride Against that power that bred it :-there will she
hide her, To listen our propose : this is thy office, Bear thee well in it, and leave us alone. Marg. I'll make her come, I warrant you, presently.
Enter Beatrice, behind.
Urs. The pleasant'st angling is to see the fish