— 3.4 —
Olivia and Maria talked together in Olivia’s garden.
Olivia said to herself, “I have sent a servant after Orsino’s young messenger, Cesario, to make him come back and see me. What kind of food should I serve him? What gift should I give him? Young men are bought — won over with gifts — more often than begged or borrowed.”
She noticed Maria looking at her, and then she said to herself, “I am too loud.”
She said in her normal voice to Maria, “Where is Malvolio? He is serious and respectable, and he is well suited to be a servant to me now.”
She thought, Right now, I am hopelessly in love with someone who does not love me.
She asked again, “Where is Malvolio?”
“He is coming, madam, but he is behaving very strangely,” Maria replied. “He seems to be possessed by the Devil, madam.”
“Why, what’s the matter with him? Does he rave?”
“No, madam, he does nothing but smile. I advise that your ladyship have a bodyguard near you when Malvolio comes. I am sure that the man’s wits are tainted.”
“Go and tell him to come here.”
Olivia said to herself, “I am as mad — as insane — as he is, if sad madness and merry madness are equally madness. Malvolio does nothing but smile, as his is a merry madness. I cannot smile, as mine is a sad madness.”
Maria and Malvolio walked into the garden.
Olivia asked Malvolio, who was indeed smiling, and who continued to smile, “How are you, Malvolio?”
Malvolio replied, “Sweet lady,” and chuckled.
“Why are you smiling?” Olivia asked. “I sent for you on serious business.”
This was true. She wanted to ask him how she should entertain Cesario.
“Serious, lady?” Malvolio said. “I could be serious. This cross-gartering does keep my blood from flowing freely in my legs, but if the cross-gartering pleases the eyes of a certain person, then I say, as does the song, ‘Please one, and please all.’”
The theme of the song was that all women want the same thing. The song may mean that all women want their own way — or that all women want something else.
“How are you, man?” Olivia asked. “What is the matter with you?”
“My mind is not black, but my legs are yellow,” Malvolio replied.
He added, “It did come to his hands, and commands shall be executed.”
This meant, I did receive your letter, and I shall follow the instructions you wrote in it.
He then said, “I think we do know the sweet Roman hand that is Italian calligraphy.”
This meant, Both of us know that the handwriting in the letter is your handwriting.
Olivia asked, “Do you want to go to bed, Malvolio?”
“To bed?” Malvolio replied.
He sang, “Yes, sweetheart, and I will come to you.”
Olivia was shocked: “May God help you!”
Malvolio blew her some kisses.
Olivia said, “Why do you keep on smiling and kissing your hand?”
“How are you, Malvolio?” Maria asked.
Following the letter’s instruments to cast off lower-class acquaintances, Malvolio said, “Do you think that I am going to speak to you? Do nightingales talk to crows?”
“Why are you talking so boldly to my lady, Olivia?” Maria asked.
Malvolio quoted the letter: “‘Be not afraid of greatness.’”
He added, “That was well written.”
Olivia asked, “What do you mean by that, Malvolio?”
“‘Some are born great,’” he replied.
Olivia asked, “What?”
“‘Some achieve greatness.’”
“What are you saying?”
“‘And some have greatness thrust upon them.’”
“Heaven help you!”
“‘Remember who complimented your yellow stockings.’”
“Your yellow stockings!” Olivia said.
“‘And wished to see thee cross-gartered.’”
“‘Do these things. Your fortune is made — if you want it to be made.’”
“Did you say, ‘Your fortune is mad’? Are you saying that I am mad?” Olivia asked.
“‘If you do not, do everything the way that you have always done them and make no change in your life. Go ahead and stay a steward.’”
“You are suffering from midsummer madness.”
One of Olivia’s servants arrived and said, “Madam, I have brought back with me Duke Orsino’s young messenger — with great difficulty. I could scarcely convince him to see you. He is now waiting for you.”
“I will come to him right away,” Olivia said.
She said to Maria, “This fellow needs to be looked after and cared for. Where is my uncle Toby? Have some of my servants take good care of Malvolio. I would not have anything bad happen to him for half of my dowry.”
Olivia and Maria left, leaving Malvolio behind, alone in the garden.
Malvolio said to himself, “So, Olivia, do you understand me now? Do you know now that I will follow the instructions in your letter and be the kind of man you wrote that you wanted me to be?”
Malvolio believed that Olivia had pretended to be shocked at his behavior because Maria was present.
He added, “No less a man than a knight — Sir Toby — to look after me! This is part of Olivia’s plan as recounted in the letter. She is sending Sir Toby to me so that I can be rude to him. She wrote about that in her letter: ‘Your Fates have generously opened their hands; let your passion and courage embrace them. And, to accustom yourself to what you are likely to be, cast off your humble ways and appear fresh and new. Be disagreeable with a kinsman, be surly with servants; let your tongue speak about important matters; make yourself act eccentrically.’ She also wrote down the manner of how I should look: a serious face, a dignified deportment, a slow manner of speech, dressing like a distinguished gentleman, and so forth. I have gotten her! But this is Jove’s doing, and may Jove make me thankful! When she went away just now, she said, ‘This fellow needs to be looked after and cared for.’ She said ‘fellow,’ not Malvolio nor my job title, but ‘fellow.’ She is referring to me as an equal. Why, everything is coming together! Nothing — not even the tiniest thing or the tiniest part of a thing — can come between success and me! I have no obstacles and no impediments between success and me! I will marry Olivia! Well, Jove, not I, is the doer of this, and he is to be thanked.”
Maria walked into the room, bringing with her Sir Toby and Fabian.
Sir Toby asked, “Where is he, in the name of sanctity?”
Sir Toby was going to pretend that Malvolio was possessed by demons, so now he pretended to fortify himself for the encounter by invoking sanctity.
He said, “If all the Devils of Hell be drawn together in a bunch, and Legion — the name of a group of Devils —himself has possessed Malvolio, yet I will speak to him.”
“Here he is,” Fabian said.
Sir Toby said to Malvolio, “How are you, sir? How are you, man?”
The letter had instructed Malvolio to cast off base acquaintances and to be rude to a kinsman — and if he married Olivia, Sir Toby would be his kinsman — and so he replied, “Go away, I don’t want to speak with you. Let me enjoy my privacy. Go away.”
Maria said, “Listen to how spookily the fiend possessing him speaks! Didn’t I tell you that he is possessed? Sir Toby, my lady wants you to take care of him.”
Malvolio said to himself, “Does she now?”
Sir Toby said to Maria and Fabian, “Quiet, please. We must deal gently with Malvolio.”
He asked Malvolio, “How are you? How are you doing? Defy the Devil, who is inside you. Renounce him! Remember, the Devil is our enemy and an enemy to all Humankind.”
“Do you even know what you are saying?” Malvolio replied.
Maria said to Sir Toby, “You spoke ill of the Devil — look at how badly Malvolio takes it! Pray to God that Malvolio is not bewitched!”
Fabian said, “Carry a sample of Malvolio’s urine to the wise woman so she can analyze it.”
“Good idea,” Maria said, “and it shall be done tomorrow morning, I promise. My lady would not lose Malvolio for more than I can say.”
“What are you saying!” Malvolio said.
“Oh, Lord!” Maria replied.
“Please, be quiet,” Sir Toby said, “This is not the way to act in front of Malvolio. Can’t you see that you are agitating him? Let me be alone with him.”
“Treat him gently,” Fabian said. “The fiend inside Malvolio is vicious and will not allow himself to be roughly treated.”
Sir Toby said to Malvolio, “How are you, bawcock — my fine fellow! How are you doing, my chuck?”
“Sir!” Malvolio said, resentful about being talked down to and called silly and childish names.
“Biddy, come with me,” Sir Toby said to Malvolio, “What, man! A dignified man ought not to play childish games with Satan. Satan is a dirty and dishonest coalman — hang him!”
“Get him to say his prayers, good Sir Toby,” Maria said. “Get him to pray.”
“You want me to say my prayers, hussy!” Malvolio said.
“No, Malvolio will not say his prayers,” Maria said. “He is possessed by a Devil who cannot stand godliness.”
“Go and hang yourselves, all of you!” Malvolio said. “You are idle and shallow things: I am not of your element — I am superior to you! You shall learn more later.”
Sir Toby said, “Is it really true that our trick is working so well?”
Fabian said, “If this were played upon a stage right now, I would condemn it as an improbable fiction.”
Sir Toby said, “He completely and totally believes that Olivia wrote the letter!”
Maria said, “Let us quickly continue the trick. Soon our joke will become known, and it will be spoiled.”
“Should we do that?” Fabian asked. “What if he really and truly becomes insane?”
Maria said, “The house will be quieter.”
She meant that she would no longer have to listen to Malvolio’s criticisms of her. The house would likely become noisier with no one to at least attempt to restrain Sir Toby’s late-night parties. Also, if Malvolio were to become insane, he would likely be locked up in a dark room, where he would howl. The dark room would be in a place where few people, if any, could hear him.
Sir Toby said, “Come on. We will have Malvolio tied up and placed in a dark room — the standard treatment for treating insanity. Olivia already believes that Malvolio is insane, and so we can continue to treat Malvolio however we like until we get tired of this joke and show mercy to him. When we get tired of laughing at him, we will let our trick become known by all and crown you, Maria, as a finder of madmen.”
He saw Sir Andrew coming toward him and said, “Look who’s coming.”
“Here is more merriment,” Fabian said.
Sir Andrew came to them with his letter in his hand and said, “Here is the challenge — read it. I promise that vinegar and pepper are in it.”
“Is it so saucy?” Fabian joked. “Saucy” means both spiced like a sauce and insulting.
Sir Andrew, who failed to get the joke, said, “Yes, it is, I promise you that. Read it.”
Sir Toby said, “Give it to me.”
He read out loud, “Youth, whatever else you are, you are a scurvy fellow.”
Fabian commented, “That is good, and valiant. It shows courage and determination.” He would praise the letter no matter how silly it got.
Sir Toby continued reading out loud, “Don’t wonder at or be surprised by what I call you. I will not tell you why I call you that.”
“This is a good note,” Fabian said. “It keeps you on the right side of the law. You will not be sued.”
Sir Toby continued reading out loud, “You have talked with the lady Olivia. I have seen that she treats you nicely. But you lie in your throat — that is not why I am writing you and challenging you to fight me.”
If Cesario were lying in his throat when he talked to Olivia, he would be lying when he said that he did not love her.
Fabian said, “Very brief, and very good sense.” To Sir Toby, he whispered, “Sense — less.”
Sir Toby continued reading out loud, “I will ambush you when you go home. If it should happen that you kill me—”
“Good,” Fabian said.
Sir Andrew thought that Fabian meant that the half-sentence was well written, but Fabian was joking that it would be a good thing if Sir Andrew were killed.
Sir Toby continued reading out loud, “If it should happen that you kill me, you kill me like a rogue and a villain.”
Fabian enjoyed the sentence. The phrase “a rogue and a villain” was ambiguous. It could refer to Cesario — or to Sir Andrew.
Fabian said, “You are still keeping yourself on the right side of the law. Good work.”
Sir Toby continued reading out loud, “Fare thee well; and God have mercy upon one of our souls! He may have mercy upon mine, but my hope is better.”
Fabian thought,Funny! Sir Andrew thought that he was writing that he hopes to survive, but instead he wrote that he hopes to be damned to Hell.
Sir Toby continued reading out loud, “Look to yourself. I am your friend, to the extent that you treat me as a friend.”
Fabian thought,Sir Andrew is trying to say that the quarrel is all Cesario’s fault.
Sir Toby continued reading out loud, “Signed, Your sworn enemy, ANDREW AGUECHEEK.”
Sir Toby said, “If this letter does not move Cesario, his legs must be paralyzed. I will give him your letter.”
“You will soon have a good opportunity to do that,” Maria said. “Cesario is talking to Olivia, and he will soon leave her.”
“Go, Sir Andrew,” Sir Toby said, “Keep watch for Cesario in the corner of the garden. Act like a sheriff’s official who arrests debtors. Don’t let him get away. As soon as you see him, draw your sword, and as you draw your sword, swear horribly. It often happens that a terrible oath, when pronounced boldly, gives a man a better reputation for courage than he would have gotten if he had actually fought. Go now.”
Sir Andrew said, “I’m really good at swearing,” and left.
Sir Toby said, “I will not give Cesario Sir Andrew’s letter. Cesario’s behavior shows that he is a young gentleman of intelligence and education. His employment as a go-between for Orsino and Olivia confirms that. Therefore, if Cesario were to read this letter, which is so silly, it would not terrify him because he would realize that its writer is an idiot. Instead, sir, I will deliver Sir Andrew’s challenge in person, orally. I will say that Sir Andrew is famous for his courage, and I will make Cesario believe — he is young, so he will believe whatever I tell him — that Sir Andrew is known for his rage, skill, fury, and impetuosity. Both Cesario and Sir Andrew will be so frightened of each other that a mere look from them will kill the other, just as the mythological creatures known as basilisks are said to be able to kill with a look.”
Olivia and Viola now entered the garden.
Fabian said, “Here come Cesario and your niece. Wait until he leaves, and then go after him.”
“In the meantime, I will think about what to say to Cesario,” Sir Toby said. “I will make up some horrible challenge for him.”
Sir Toby, Fabian, and Maria all left the garden, leaving Viola and Olivia alone. Sir Andrew watched the two from a distance.
Olivia said to Viola, “I have said too much to you and to your heart of stone, and I have unwisely risked my reputation. I may have done the wrong thing, but my fault is so headstrong and powerful that it mocks reproof. I may have done the wrong thing in telling you that I love you, but I can’t regret it.”
“Your passion for me compels you to tell me that you love me,” Viola said. “Orsino’s passion for you compels him to send you the message that he loves you.”
Olivia said, “Here, wear this jeweled miniature for me — it is my picture. Don’t refuse it. It has no tongue to vex you. I ask that you come to me again tomorrow. You can ask nothing of me that I will deny you except that which honor requires me to deny you.”
Viola did not take the locket. She said, “I ask you for nothing but this — that you love Orsino.”
“How can I honorably give him that which I have already given to you?”
“I will return that gift to you.”
Olivia said, “Well, come again tomorrow. Fare thee well. A fiend like you might bear my soul to Hell.”
She went back inside her house.
Sir Toby and Fabian had been watching. Now they approached Viola.
“May God save you,” Sir Toby said.
“And you, sir,” Viola replied.
Sir Toby said to Viola, “Whatever skill you have in fencing, now is the time for you to use it. I don’t know what wrongs you have done to him, but I know that he is full of hatred for you and that he is as bloodthirsty as a dog hunting its prey. He is waiting for you there in the corner of the garden. Unsheathe your rapier and quickly prepare to defend yourself because your enemy is quick, skillful, and deadly.”
“You must be mistaken, sir,” Viola replied. “I am sure that no man has any reason to quarrel with me. I can remember no offense that I have committed against any man.”
Sir Toby replied, “Your enemy thinks otherwise, I assure you; therefore, if you value your life, be on guard because your enemy has youth, strength, skill, and anger.”
“Please, sir, who is he?”
“He is a knight,” Sir Toby said. “He became a knight not through his service in battle, but through domestic service. Nevertheless, he is a Devil when it comes to his private quarrels. He has killed three men and sent their souls to either Heaven or Hell. Right now, his anger at you is so implacable that it can be satisfied only by pangs of death and entombment in a burial vault. His motto is ‘Kill, or be killed.’”
“I will go into the house and ask Olivia for someone to escort and protect me,” Viola said. “I am no fighter. I have heard that some men start quarrels without cause on purpose as a test of their own and other men’s courage. This man must be like that.”
“Sir, no, he is not,” Sir Toby said. “His anger comes from a very notable insult, and therefore you must fight him. I will not allow you to go back inside the house unless you first fight me, and so you might as well fight him. Therefore, either draw your sword and fight him, or admit to your cowardice and never again wear a sword.”
“This is both rude and unintelligible,” Viola said. “I ask you to do me a favor: Find out from the knight what he thinks is my offense to him. Whatever it is, it is accidental and was not done on purpose.”
“I will do so,” Sir Toby said, “Mr. Fabian, stay by Cesario until my return.”
Sir Toby wanted Fabian to keep Cesario from either going into Olivia’s house or running away.
Sir Toby left to talk to Sir Andrew.
Viola said to Fabian, “Please, sir, do you know anything about this?”
“I know that the knight is angry at you — so angry that he wants to kill you — but I do not know the reason why.”
“What kind of man is he?”
“If you look at him, you would not think that he is a courageous fighter, but you will change your mind as soon as you see him in action. He is, indeed, sir, the most skillful, bloody, and deadly enemy that you could possibly have found in any part of Illyria. Will you walk with me to him and meet with him? I will make your peace with him if I can.”
“I would appreciate it if you can make peace,” Viola said. “I am the kind of person who would rather meet Sir Priest than Sir Knight. I don’t care what that makes people think about my courage.”
Meanwhile, Sir Toby was talking to Sir Andrew.
Sir Toby said, “Why, man, Cesario is a very Devil; I have not seen such a virago — he may look feminine, but he fights like a seasoned male warrior. I had a practice bout with him, and he thrust his sword at me with such a deadly motion, that I could not defend against it. When I thrust back at him, he thrust again and would have killed me a second time if our fight had been for real. He stabs you with his sword just as surely as your feet hit the ground they step on. They say that he has been fencer to the Shah of Persia.”
“Damn, I’ll not fight him,” Sir Andrew said.
Sir Toby said, “That’s a wise decision, but now Cesario is so angry that he will not be pacified. Look! Fabian can scarcely hold him yonder — Cesario is eager to kill you.”
Fabian was holding Viola’s arm as she struggled to escape and run away.
“If I had known he was so brave and so skillful in fencing, I would have seen him damned before I would have challenged him. If he will forget about it, I’ll give him my horse: Grey Capilet.”
“I’ll see what I can do,” Sir Toby said. “Stand here, and put on a show of bravery. I intend that this shall end without the loss of life.”
He walked toward Fabian and Viola, who were now walking toward him, and he thought, I will end up riding Sir Andrew’s horse as well as riding Sir Andrew.
Sir Toby said quietly to Fabian, “I can get Sir Andrew’s horse — he wants me to settle this quarrel. I have persuaded him that Cesario is a Devil when it comes to a fight.”
Fabian said quietly to Sir Toby, “Cesario is just as scared of Sir Andrew as Sir Andrew is of him. Cesario hyperventilates and looks pale, as if a bear were chasing him.”
Sir Toby said quietly to Viola, “There’s no remedy, sir. I can do nothing to stop this fight. He has thought about the reason for this quarrel, and he finds that it is now scarcely worth talking of, but he will fight you because he made an oath to fight you. Therefore, draw your sword, but be aware that he is fighting you only because of his oath, and he promises that he will not hurt you.”
Viola thought, May God defend me! I am almost ready to tell them what part I lack of a man.
Fabian advised Viola,“Give ground and retreat if you see him really furious.”
Sir Toby said quietly, “Come, Sir Andrew, you can’t get out of this. The gentleman will, for his honor’s sake, have one bout with you. By the rules of dueling, he cannot avoid fighting you, but as he is a gentleman and a soldier, he has promised me that he will not hurt you. Come on. It’s time to fight him.”
Sir Andrew said, “Pray God he keep his oath!”
Viola said, “It is against my will.”
Sir Andrew thought that Cesario meant that it was against his will that he keep his oath not to hurt Sir Andrew, but Viola meant that it was against her will that she was fighting at all.
Sir Andrew and Viola drew their swords. Antonio, who was looking for Sebastian, saw them from the street. Thinking that Viola was her brother, Sebastian, he entered Olivia’s garden and said to Sir Andrew, “Put up your sword. If this young gentleman has done any offence, I take the fault on me. If you have offended him, then I defy you for him.”
Sir Toby asked, “You, sir, who are you?”
Antonio replied, “I am one, sir, who for his deep friendship for this man will do more than you have heard me say to you that I will do.”
Angry that his fun had been interrupted, Sir Toby said, “If you are willing to fight in his place, I am willing to fight in Sir Andrew’s place.”
Sir Toby and Antonio drew their swords, but Fabian said to Sir Toby, “Wait! Here come two officers of the law!”
Sir Toby said to Antonio, “I won’t fight you right now, but I will after the officers leave.”
Viola said to Sir Andrew, “Please, sir, put your sword back is its scabbard, if you please.”
He replied, “Indeed, I will, sir, and, as for that which I promised you, I will be as good as my word: My horse will bear you easily and reins well.”
Viola was mystified by the comment, but everyone put their swords back in their scabbards.
The first officer pointed to Antonio and said, “This is the man; do your duty.”
The second officer said, “Antonio, I arrest you in the name of Duke Orsino.”
“You have mistaken me for someone else,” Antonio said.
The first officer replied, “No, not at all. I know your face well, though now you have no sea cap on your head. Take him away: He knows that I know who he is.”
Antonio said to the officers, “I will go quietly.”
Antonio said to Viola, “This is a result of my seeking you, but that is the way it is. I will face the consequences. I will either defend myself well or pay the penalty. However, I worry about you. What will you do now that my circumstances force me to ask you to return my money? I grieve much more about not being to help you than I grieve for myself.”
Viola looked shocked at these words. She had never seen Antonio before.
Antonio said to her, “You seem shocked, but don’t worry about me.”
The second officer said, “Come on, sir. Let’s go.”
Antonio said to Viola, “I must ask you for some of that money.”
Viola replied, “What money, sir? For the kindness you have given to me here, when you offered to fight this man for me, and in part because I pity you in your present trouble, I’ll lend you some of the little money I have. I don’t have much money, but I’ll divide it with you. Here, take half of the money I have.”
The amount of money was much less that what Antonio had given to Sebastian.
Antonio said to Viola, “Are you going to pretend not to know me? Is it possible that you will do that despite all that I have done for you? I have been arrested, and you ought to help me. Don’t make me demean myself by reminding you of all the things that I have done to help you.”
“Other than the good deed you have done for me just now, I know of nothing that you have done to help me,” Viola said. “I do not know your voice or your face. I hate ingratitude more in a man than lying, vanity, babbling drunkenness, or any other vice that our weak human nature is susceptible to.”
“Oh, my God!” Antonio said.
The second officer said, “Come, sir, let’s go.”
“Let me say a few words,” Antonio said. “This youth whom you see here I snatched out of the jaws of death. He was half dead, but I lovingly nursed him back to health, and devoted myself to him because he looked so noble and good.”
The first officer replied, “What is that to us? The time is passing. We need to leave!”
Antonio said, “But this man who seemed to be a god turns out to be a vile idol. You shame your good looks, Sebastian. The only real blemish is a blemish of the mind. The only real deformity is an unnatural hardness of heart:
“In nature there’s no blemish but the mind;
“None can be called deformed but the unkind.
“Virtue and beauty are supposed to be synonymous, but some evil people are beautiful; they are like empty trunks whose exterior is decorated by the Devil:
“Virtue is beauty, but the beauteous evil
“Are empty trunks overflourished by the Devil.”
The first officer said, “Antonio is becoming insane. Let’s take him away! Come with us, Antonio.”
“Take me away,” Antonio said.
He left with the two officers of the law.
Viola said to herself, “He speaks with such passion that I think that he believes what he says. But I don’t.”
But then an explanation for Antonio’s words occurred to her: “I hope that it may be true. My brother, Sebastian, may still be alive, and Antonio may have thought that I am he.”
Sir Toby had been amused by Antonio’s couplets. He said, “Come with me, Sir Andrew and Fabian. We will say among ourselves a couplet or two of most sage saws.”
Viola said to herself, “Antonio said the name Sebastian. Whenever I look into a mirror, I see the image of my brother. We look almost exactly alike. We have the same features, the same face. We are dressed in the same style and color of clothing and with the same ornaments because I imitated him when I disguised myself as a man. If my brother is still alive, then tempests are kind and waves are fresh and filled with love. Unkind tempests and salt waves have foregone their ordinary attributes, if my brother is alive.”
Sir Toby said, “Cesario is a very dishonest and paltry boy, and he is more cowardly than is a hare. Cesario shows that he is dishonorable because he is doing nothing to help his friend in need and even denies knowing him. As for Cesario’s cowardice, ask Fabian about it.”
“It is true,” Fabian said. “Cesario is a coward, a most devout coward. He is as devoted to cowardice as if it were his religion.”
Happy to hear that Cesario is a coward, Sir Andrew said, “By God, I’ll go after him and beat him.”
Sir Toby said, “Do that, Sir Andrew, fight him. Beat him soundly. But do not draw your sword against him.”
“I swear that I will —”
Sir Andrew left.
Fabian said to Sir Toby, “Come on. Let’s go and watch.”
“I bet you that nothing will come of it. Those two still will not fight.”
They followed Sir Andrew.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
TWELFTH NIGHT Paperback