ACT II - Scene IV

Venice. A street Enter GRATIANO, LORENZO, SALERIO, and SOLANIO LORENZO

Nay, we will slink away in suppertime, Disguise us at my lodging, and return All in an hour.

GRATIANO

We have not made good preparation.

SALERIO

We have not spoke us yet of torch-bearers.

SOLANIO

'Tis vile, unless it may be quaintly ordered; And better in my mind not undertook.

LORENZO

'Tis now but four o'clock; we have two hours To furnish us. Enter LAUNCELOT, With a letter Friend Launcelot, what's the news?

LAUNCELOT

An it shall please you to break up this, it shall seem to signify.

LORENZO

I know the hand; in faith, 'tis a fair hand, And whiter than the paper it writ on Is the fair hand that writ.

GRATIANO

Love-news, in faith!

LAUNCELOT

By your leave, sir.

LORENZO

Whither goest thou?

LAUNCELOT

Marry, sir, to bid my old master, the Jew, to sup to-night with my new master, the Christian.

LORENZO

Hold, here, take this. Tell gentle Jessica I will not fail her; speak it privately. Go, gentlemen, Exit LAUNCELOT Will you prepare you for this masque to-night? I am provided of a torch-bearer.

SALERIO

Ay, marry, I'll be gone about it straight.

SOLANIO

And so will I.

LORENZO

Meet me and Gratiano At Gratiano's lodging some hour hence.

SALERIO

'Tis good we do so. Exeunt SALERIO and SOLANIO

GRATIANO

Was not that letter from fair Jessica?

LORENZO

I must needs tell thee all. She hath directed How I shall take her from her father's house; What gold and jewels she is furnish'd with; What page's suit she hath in readiness. If e'er the Jew her father come to heaven, It will be for his gentle daughter's sake; And never dare misfortune cross her foot, Unless she do it under this excuse, That she is issue to a faithless Jew. Come, go with me, peruse this as thou goest; Fair Jessica shall be my torch-bearer.

Exeunt