Venice. A street.
(Gratiano; Lorenzo; Salerio; Solanio; Launcelot)
Lorenzo, Gratiano, Solerio and Solanio discuss the details of the plan to help carry off Jessica. Launcelot delivers Jessica’s letter. (40 lines)
Enter Gratiano, Lorenzo, Salerio, and Solanio.
Nay, we will slink away in supper-time,
Disguise us at my lodging, and return
All in an hour.
We have not made good preparation.
We have not spoke us yet of torch-bearers.
’Tis vile, unless it may be quaintly ordered,
And better in my mind not undertook.
’Tis now but four of clock, we have two hours
To furnish us.
Enter Launcelot with a letter.
Friend Launcelot, what’s the news?
And it shall please you to break up this, it shall seem to signify.
I know the hand; in faith, ’tis a fair hand,
And whiter than the paper it writ on
Is the fair hand that writ.
Love-news, in faith.
By your leave, sir.
Whither goest thou?
Marry, sir, to bid my old master the Jew to sup tonight with my new master the Christian.
Hold here, take this. Tell gentle Jessica
I will not fail her, speak it privately.
Will you prepare you for this masque tonight?
I am provided of a torch-bearer.
Ay, marry, I’ll be gone about it straight.
And so will I.
Meet me and Gratiano
At Gratiano’s lodging some hour hence.
’Tis good we do so.
Exit with Solanio.
Was not that letter from fair Jessica?
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.