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Mar. Get ye all three into the box-tree: Malvolio's coming down this walk; he has been yonder i'the sun, practising behaviour to his own shadow, this half hour: observe him, for the love of mockery; for, I know, this letter will make a contemplative idiot of him. Close, in the name of jesting! [The men hide themselves.] Lie thou there; (throws down a letter.] for here comes the trout that must be caught with tickling.
[Exit MARIA. Enter Malvolio. Mal. 'Tis but fortune; all is fortune. Maria once told me, she did affect me: and I have heard herself come thus near, that, should she fancy?, it should be one of my complexion. Besides, she uses me with a more exalted respect, than any one else that follows her. What should I think on't?
Sir To. Here's an overweening rogue!
Fab. O, peace! Contemplation makes a rare turkey-cock of him; how he jets 3 under his advanced plumes !
Sir And. 'Slight, I could so beat the rogue:-
dian seas. "Quæ tacta totius corporis pruritum quendam excitat, unde nomen Urticæ est sortita.'-FRANZII Hist. ANIMAL. 1665, p. 620. In Holland's translation of Pliny, Book ix. “As for those nettles, &c. their qualities is to raise an itching smart.' So, Green in bis Card of Fancie,' The flower of India, pleasant to be seen, but whoso smelleth to it feeleth present smart.' He refers to it again in his Mamilia, 1593. Maria has certainly excited a congenial sensation in Sir Toby. Mettle of India would signify my girl of gold, my precious girl.
3 To jet was to strut. “To jette lordly through the streets that men may see them. Incedere magnifice per ora hominum. Baret. So, in Bussy D'Ambois :
• To jet in other's plumes so haughtily.'
· Sir To. Ah, rogue!
Sir And. Pistol him, pistol him.
Mal. There is example for’t; the lady of the Strachy 4 married the yeoman of the wardrobe.
Sir And. Fie on him, Jezebel !
Fab. O, peace! now he's deeply in; look, how imagination blows5 him.
Mal. Having been three months married to her, sitting in my state“,–
Sir To. 0, for a stone-bow, to hit him in the eye!
Mal. Calling my officers about me, in my branched velvet gown; having come from a day-bed?, where I left Olivia sleeping. : Sir To. Fire and brimstone !
Fab. 0, peace, peace!
Mal. And then to have the humour of state: and after a demure travel of regard,--telling them I know my place, as I would they should do theirs,
-to ask for my kinsman Toby: . Sir To. Bolts and shackles !
Fab. O, peace, peace, peace! now, now.
Mal. Seven of my people, with an obedient start, make out for him: I frown the while; and, perchance, wind up my watch, or play with my some rich jewel. Toby approaches; court’sies there to me:
Sir To. Shall this fellow live?
4 Mr. R. P. Knight conjectures that this is a corruption of Stratici, a title anciently given to the Governors of Messina, and Illyria is not far from Messina. If so it will mean the Governor's lady. The word Strachy is printed with a capital and in Italics in the first folio. .5 Puffs him up. 6 State chair. 7 Couch.
8 It is probable that this word was used to express acts of civility and reverence, by either men or women indiscriminately,
Fab. Though our silence be drawn from us with cars', yet peace.
Mal. I extend my hand to him thus, quenching my familiar smile with an austere regard of control 10:
Sir To. And does not Toby take you a blow o’the lips then?
Mal. Saying, Cousin Toby, my fortunes having cast me on your niece, give me this prerogative of speech :
Sir To. What, what?
Fab. Nay, patience, or we break the sinews of our plot.
Mal. Besides, you waste the treasure of your time with a foolish knight;
Sir And. That's me, I warrant you.
[Taking up the letter. Fab. Now is the woodcock near the gin.
Sir To. 0, peace! and the spirit of humours intimate reading aloud to him?
Mal. By my life, this is my lady's hand: these be her very C's, her U's, and her T's; and thus
9 Thus in the Two Gentlemen of Verona, the clown says :“ who that is, a team of horses shall not pluck from me.”
10 It may be worthy of remark, that the leading ideas of Malvolio, in his humour of state, bears a strong resemblance to those of Alnaschar in • The Arabian Nights. Some of the expressions too are very similar. Many Arabian fictions had found their way into obscure Latin and French books, and from thence into English ones, long before any version of “The Arabian Nights' had appeared. In · The Dialogues of Creatures Moralized, bl. l. printed early in the sixteenth century, a story similar to that of Alnaschar is related. See Dial. c. p. 122, reprint of 1816.
makes she her great P's. It is, in contempt of question, her hand.
Sir And. Her C's, her U's, and her T's: Why that?
Mal. [reads] To the unknown beloved, this, and my good wishes: her very phrases !-By your leave, wax.—Soft!--and the impressure her Lucrece, with which she uses to seal: 'tis my lady: To whom should this be?
Fab. This wins him, liver and all. .
No man must know. No man must know. What follows? the numbers altered !-No man must know :-If this should be thee, Malvolio?
Sir To. Marry, hang thee, brock 11 !
But silence, like a Lucrece knife,
M, 0, A, I, doth sway my life.
Fab. What a dish of poison has she dressed him!
Mal. I may command where I adore. Why, she may command me; I serve her, she is my lady. Why, this is evident to any formal capacity 13. There is no obstruction in this ;—And the end,What should that alphabetical position portend ? if I could make that resemble something in me,Softly!—M, 0, A, 1.
11 i.e. badger, a term of contempt. So in the Merry Conceited Jests of George Peele :- This self-conceited brock.'
12 The common stone-hawk, which inhabits old buildings and rocks. To check, says Latham in bis book of Falconry, is, ' when crows, rooks, pies, or other birds coming in view of the hawk, she forsaketh her natural flight to fly at them.'
Sir To. O, ay! make up that:—he is now at a cold scent.
Fab. Sowter 14 will cry upon't, for all this, though it be as rank as a fox.
Mal. M,—Malvolio ;-M,—why, that begins my name.
Fab. Did not I say, he would work it out? the cur is excellent at faults.
Mal. M, But then there is no consonancy in the sequel ; that suffers under probation: A should follow, but O does.
Fab. And 0 shall end, I hope.
Sir To. Ay, or I'll cudgel him, and make him cry, 0.
Mal. And then I comes behind.
Fab. Ay, an you had any eye behind you, you might see more detraction at your heels, than fortunes before you.
Mal. M, O, A, I;—This simulation is not as the former:—and yet, to crush this a little, it would bow to me, for every one of these letters are in my name. Soft; here follows prose.-If this fall into thy hand, revolve. In my stars I am above thee; but be not afraid of greatness: Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them. Thy fates open their hands; let thy blood and spirit
13 i. e. to any one in his senses, or whose capacity is not out of form.
14 Sowter is here used as the name of a hound. Sowterly is often employed as a term of abuse : a Sowter was a cobbler or botcher; quasi Sutor.