Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous mind.
Samuel Johnson

Much Ado About Nothing Ebook

Much Ado About Nothing
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Much Ado About Nothing

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Title: Much Ado About Nothing
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Act 1

"scene" 1

Scene 1

[Before LEONATO'S house.]

[Enter LEONATO, HERO, and BEATRICE, with a Messenger]

LEONATO

I discover in this letter that Don Peter of Arragon
comes this night to Messina.

Messenger

He is very near by this: he was not three leagues off
when I left him.

LEONATO

How many gentlemen have you lost in this action?

Messenger

But few of any sort, and none of name.

LEONATO

A victory is twice itself when the achiever brings
home full numbers. I find here that Don Peter hath
bestowed much honour on a young Florentine called Claudio.

Messenger

Much deserved on his part and equally remembered by
Don Pedro: he hath borne himself beyond the
promise of his age, doing, in the figure of a lamb,
the feats of a lion: he hath indeed better
bettered expectation than you must expect of me to
tell you how.

LEONATO

He hath an uncle here in Messina will be very much
glad of it.

Messenger

I have already delivered him letters, and there
appears much joy in him; even so much that joy could
not show itself modest enough without a badge of
bitterness.

LEONATO

Did he break out into tears?

Messenger

In great measure.

LEONATO

A kind overflow of kindness: there are no faces
truer than those that are so washed. How much
better is it to weep at joy than to joy at weeping!

BEATRICE

I pray you, is Signior Mountanto returned from the
wars or no?

Messenger

I know none of that name, lady: there was none such
in the army of any sort.

LEONATO

What is he that you ask for, niece?

HERO

My cousin means Signior Benedick of Padua.

Messenger

O, he's returned; and as pleasant as ever he was.

BEATRICE

He set up his bills here in Messina and challenged
Cupid at the flight; and my uncle's fool, reading
the challenge, subscribed for Cupid, and challenged
him at the bird-bolt. I pray you, how many hath he
killed and eaten in these wars? But how many hath
he killed? for indeed I promised to eat all of his killing.

LEONATO

Faith, niece, you tax Signior Benedick too much;
but he'll be meet with you, I doubt it not.

Messenger

He hath done good service, lady, in these wars.

BEATRICE

You had musty victual, and he hath holp to eat it:
he is a very valiant trencherman; he hath an
excellent stomach.

Messenger

And a good soldier too, lady.

BEATRICE

And a good soldier to a lady: but what is he to a lord?

Messenger

A lord to a lord, a man to a man; stuffed with all
honourable virtues.

BEATRICE

It is so, indeed; he is no less than a stuffed man:
but for the stuffing, -- well, we are all mortal.

LEONATO

You must not, sir, mistake my niece. There is a
kind of merry war betwixt Signior Benedick and her:
they never meet but there's a skirmish of wit
between them.

BEATRICE

Alas! he gets nothing by that. In our last
conflict four of his five wits went halting off, and
now is the whole man governed with one: so that if
he have wit enough to keep himself warm, let him
bear it for a difference between himself and his
horse; for it is all the wealth that he hath left,
to be known a reasonable creature. Who is his
companion now? He hath every month a new sworn brother.

Messenger

Is't possible?

BEATRICE

Very easily possible: he wears his faith but as
the fashion of his hat; it ever changes with the
next block.

Messenger

I see, lady, the gentleman is not in your ebooks.

Much Ado About Nothing

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