Modern English Twelfth Night Ebook Sample: Act 4, Scene 2

Maria carried a clerical cap and gown and a false beard. ‘No, come on, please,’ she implored Feste. ‘Put on this gown and this beard to make him believe that you’re the curate, Sir Topas. Get on with it. I’ll call Sir Toby in the meantime.’

She ran off to find Sir Toby, leaving Feste with the items. Well, he would put them on and disguise himself in them. He wished he were the first to wear clerical garb to disguise deceit. He slipped the gown on – it was very long. He wasn’t tall enough to look the part nor skinny enough to be taken for a dedicated scholar but, he supposed, to be thought of as an honest man who balances his books is as good as saying that he was a cautious man and a great scholar. Ah, here were the conspirators.

Sir Toby bowed exaggeratedly. ‘God bless you, Mister Parson,’ he said.

Feste nodded gravely at him. ‘Bonas Dies,’ he said in the quavering voice of a frail old man. ‘As the old hermit of Prague, who never used pen and ink, said to a niece of King Gorbuduc – ” that that is, is ” ; so I, being Mister Parson, am Mr Parson, because what is ‘that’ but ‘that’ and ‘is’ but ‘is’?’

They stood near the entrance of Olivia’s house. There was a guardhouse with a square hole with bars in the door, in which Sir Toby had locked Malvolio.

‘To him, Sir Topas,’ said Sir Toby.

Feste went and stood beside the door. ‘You in there, I say! Silence in this prison!’

‘The knave does a good impression,’ whispered Sir Toby. ‘He’s a good rogue.’

Malvolio’s voice came, echoing out of the darkness. ‘Who’s calling?’

‘Sir Topas the curate, who comes to visit Malvolio the lunatic.’

‘Sir Topas! Sir Topas! Dear Sir Topas, go to my lady.’

Feste jumped back. ‘Get out of him diabolical fiend! How you’re tormenting this man! Can you talk of nothing but ladies?’

Sir Toby and Maria clung to each other, working hard at stifling their laughter. ‘Well said, Mister Parson,’ mouthed Sir Toby.

‘Sir Topas,’ came the echoing voice. ‘Never has a man been so wronged! Dear Sir Topas, do not think I am mad. They’ve imprisoned me here in hideous darkness.’

‘Shame on you, lying Satan! I’m calling you by the most modest terms because I’m one of those gentle men who would treat the devil himself with courtesy. Are you saying that place is dark?’

‘As hell, Sir Topas.’

‘Why, it has bay windows as transparent as shutters and the windows on the south-north side are as bright as ebony and yet you complain that the light is obstructed?’

‘I am not mad, Sir Topas. I’m telling you, this house is dark.’

Feste tutted. ‘Madman, you’re mistaken. I say there is no darkness except ignorance, in which you are more bogged down than the Egyptians were in their fog.’

‘I’m telling you, this house is as dark as ignorance, the ignorance that’s as dark as hell, and I’m telling you that no man has ever been so abused. I’m no more mad than you are. Test me with some penetrating question.’

Feste paced before the guardhouse door and stroked his beard. ‘What is the opinion of Pythagoras concerning wild birds?’

‘That the soul of one’s grandmother might possibly inhabit the body of a bird.’

Feste grunted. ‘What do you think of his opinion?’

‘I think nobly of the soul and in no way agree with his opinion.’

Feste turned. ‘Farewell,’ he said. ‘Remain in darkness. You’ll have to hold the opinion of Pythagoras before I’ll certify you sane. And be careful about killing a woodcock in case you displace the soul of your grandmother. Farewell.’

Malvolio’s voice, crying in desperation, ‘Sir Topas! Sir Topas! followed him as he went to where Sir Toby and Maria waited. Tears rolled down Sir Toby’s cheeks.

‘My most exquisite Sir Topas,’ he gasped, embracing the jester.

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About Twelfth Night Ebook
  • Translated as an easy to read, exciting teenage novel
  • Follows the acts & scenes of original Twelfth Night text
  • Allows you to master the plot, characters & language of Twelfth Night
Ebook Resources

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Sonnet 1, Sonnet 2, Sonnet 3, Sonnet 4, Sonnet 5, Sonnet 6, Sonnet 7, Sonnet 8, Sonnet 9, Sonnet 10, Sonnet 11, Sonnet 12, Sonnet 13, Sonnet 14, Sonnet 15, Sonnet 16, Sonnet 17, Sonnet 18, Sonnet 19, Sonnet 20, Sonnet 21, Sonnet 22, Sonnet 23, Sonnet 24, Sonnet 25, Sonnet 26, Sonnet 27, Sonnet 28, Sonnet 29, Sonnet 30, Sonnet 31, Sonnet 32, Sonnet 33, Sonnet 34, Sonnet 35, Sonnet 36, Sonnet 37, Sonnet 38, Sonnet 39, Sonnet 40, Sonnet 41, Sonnet 42, Sonnet 43, Sonnet 44, Sonnet 45, Sonnet 46, Sonnet 47, Sonnet 48, Sonnet 49, Sonnet 50, Sonnet 51, Sonnet 52, Sonnet 53, Sonnet 54, Sonnet 55, Sonnet 56, Sonnet 57, Sonnet 58, Sonnet 59, Sonnet 60, Sonnet 61, Sonnet 62, Sonnet 63, Sonnet 64, Sonnet 65, Sonnet 66, Sonnet 67, Sonnet 68, Sonnet 69, Sonnet 70, Sonnet 71, Sonnet 72, Sonnet 73, Sonnet 74, Sonnet 75, Sonnet 76, Sonnet 77, Sonnet 78, Sonnet 79, Sonnet 80, Sonnet 81, Sonnet 82, Sonnet 83, Sonnet 84, Sonnet 85, Sonnet 86, Sonnet 87, Sonnet 88, Sonnet 89, Sonnet 90, Sonnet 91, Sonnet 92, Sonnet 93, Sonnet 94, Sonnet 95, Sonnet 96, Sonnet 97, Sonnet 98, Sonnet 99, Sonnet 100, Sonnet 101, Sonnet 102, Sonnet 103, Sonnet 104, Sonnet 105, Sonnet 106, Sonnet 107, Sonnet 108, Sonnet 109, Sonnet 110, Sonnet 111, Sonnet 112, Sonnet 113, Sonnet 114, Sonnet 115, Sonnet 116, Sonnet 117, Sonnet 118, Sonnet 119, Sonnet 120, Sonnet 121, Sonnet 122, Sonnet 123, Sonnet 124, Sonnet 125, Sonnet 126, Sonnet 127, Sonnet 128, Sonnet 129, Sonnet 130, Sonnet 131, Sonnet 132, Sonnet 133, Sonnet 134, Sonnet 135, Sonnet 136, Sonnet 137, Sonnet 138, Sonnet 139, Sonnet 140, Sonnet 141, Sonnet 142, Sonnet 143, Sonnet 144, Sonnet 145, Sonnet 146, Sonnet 147, Sonnet 148, Sonnet 149, Sonnet 150, Sonnet 151, Sonnet 152, Sonnet 153, Sonnet 154,