ACT II
Scene 4
 

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