Season Content Notes: Revenge plot, violence, boundary violations, sexual harassment
Sir Toby and Fabian were playing cards with the fool making music quietly in the corner. Their quiet play was interrupted when Sir Andrew rushed in waving a much-crumpled paper.
Fabian, facing the door, saw him first and leaned toward Sir Toby, whispering, “More matter for a May morning.”
Thus alerted, Sir Toby did not jump up and spill his drink when Sir Andrew clapped his shoulder from behind and dropped the paper on the table.
“Here’s the challenge!” he cried, “Read it: warrant there’s vinegar and pepper in’t.”
“Is’t so saucy?” Fabian asked, mostly hiding his disbelief.
Taking up the paper again, Sir Andrew made as if to shake it in Fabian’s face but shied away at the last moment. “Ay, is’t, I warrant him: do but read.”
Sir Toby snatched the waving paper from Sir Andrew’s hands and spread it out. Then began to read aloud.
‘Youth, whatsoever thou art, thou art but a scurvy fellow.’
“Good,” Fabian said, surprised, “and valiant.”
Sir Andrew took up a fencing pose and began lunging about the room.
Sir Toby continued to read, ” ‘Wonder not, nor admire not in thy mind, why I do call thee so, for I will show thee no reason for’t.’
Surprise faded from Fabian’s face, and a grimace took its place. “A… a good note; that keeps you from the blow of the law.”
Setting his lute aside, the fool drew forth his non-existent sword and gave challenge to Sir Andrew. Startled, Sir Andrew lost his footing and squeaked, but quickly recovered to give a brave show of himself. The two dueled back and forth across the floor, trading imaginary blow and parry.
” ‘Thou comest to the lady Olivia, and in my sight she uses thee kindly: but thou liest in thy throat; that is not the matter I challenge thee for.'”
Fabian squeaked now and gaped for a moment before managing, “Very brief, and to exceeding good sense–less.”
” ‘I will waylay thee going home; where if it be thy chance to kill me,’–”
Sir Andrew, retreating from the fool’s attack, tripped over Fabian’s feet, knocking them both to the ground. The fool took advantage of his opponent’s fall to make the coup-de-grace, and Sir Andrew died dramatically.
“Good.” Fabian coughed.
“‘Thou killest me like a rogue and a villain.'”
“Still,” Fabian gasped, trying to get up without shoving Sir Andrew off of him, “you keep o’ the windy side of the law: good.”
” ‘Fare thee well, and God have mercy upon one of our souls! He may have mercy upon mine, but my hope is better, and so look to thyself. Thy friend, as thou usest him, and thy sworn enemy, ANDREW AGUECHEEK.’ If this letter move him not, his legs cannot.” Sir Toby finally took notice of Sir Andrew, still laying on Fabian and struggling to rise. Sir Toby tucked the letter into his pocket and reached down to lift Sir Andrew up.
“I’ll give’t him.” Sir Toby assured the other, hiding the rolling of his eyes.
For a moment Sir Andrew looked as if he would speak, but then Maria poked her head through the door.
Maria poked her head in the door. “You may have very fit occasion for’t: he is now in some commerce with my lady, and will by and by depart.”
“Go, Sir Andrew,” Sir Toby urged the knight toward the door, “scout me for him at the corner of the orchard. So soon as ever thou seest him, draw; and, as thou drawest swear horrible. Away!”
Sir Andrew dragged his feet but was eventually guided on his way, insisting the whole time that he was not one to swear.
Once he was gone, Sir Toby pulled the note out, and ripped it to pieces. “Now will not I deliver his letter: for the behavior of the young gentleman gives him out to be of good capacity and breeding; his employment between his lord and my niece confirms no less.” Toby tossed the shredded letter into the fireplace and spit upon it — which did as much good as spitting into fire ever does. “Therefore this letter, being so excellently ignorant, will breed no terror in the youth: he will find it comes from a clodpole. I will deliver his challenge by word of mouth”
“Here he comes with your niece,” Fabian said. And indeed, through the window, they could see Olivia and Cesario walking the lawn. “Give them way til he take leave, and presently after him.”
“I will meditate the while upon some horrid message for a challenge.”
Fabian and Sir Toby followed Maria from the room, leaving the fool to watch and listen through the window.
Countess Olivia was once again pleading with the youth:
“I have said too much unto a heart of stone and laid mine honour too unchary out. There’s something in me that reproves my fault; but such a headstrong potent fault it is, that it but mocks reproof.”
Cesario had long since grown sick of these visits. He shook his head and said quietly, “With the same ‘havior that your passion bears, goes on my master’s grief.”
As far as Cesario was concerned, they were all fools — himself, the duke, and the countess — for loving one they could not have. And himself the double fool for encouraging their folly!
Unaware of his thoughts, the countess removed her necklace — a cunningly worked cameo — and held it out to Cesario. “Here, wear this jewel for me, ’tis my picture.” She held it out so long to him, but he did not even look at it. “Refuse it not,” she begged, “it hath no tongue to vex you.” With a resigned chuckle at his folly, Cesario accepted the gift, but did not put it on.
“And I beseech you come again to-morrow,” she continued, “What shall you ask of me that I’ll deny, that honour saved may upon asking give?”
“Nothing but this,” Cesario replied, knowing it was a waste of words, “your true love for my master.”
“How with mine honour may I give him that which I have given to you?”
Pulling upon his hair, Cesario turned and started down the road, calling over his shoulder, “I will acquit you.”
Olivia chased after him for a few steps. “Well, come again to-morrow: fare thee well!” He waved an acknowledgment, and she turned back to the manor, speaking to herself. “A fiend like thee might bear my soul to hell.”