Modern English Much Ado About Nothing Ebook Sample
Act 1, Scene 1
It was a hot morning in Messina. The only thing that interrupted the clear blue of the sky was the wispy smoke that rose lazily from Mount Etna. As usual, the governor’s villa was filled with young people enjoying themselves with music, sports and conversation. An ensemble of minstrels played and sang fashionable songs that they had brought from Florence; two muscular fellows wrestled, cheered on by a group of spectators of both sexes, while the garden was dotted with pairs and trios, sitting in the shade of the huge pines, chatting.
Leonato’s villa was magnificent. He had carved out his vineyards and orchards from a countryside that was otherwise covered with lava and overgrown with cacti. From the lawn in front of the villa there was a spectacular view of the blue ocean and the Italian mainland. It was a place of pleasure, with tennis courts , gardens, and even a maze. Leonato considered himself to be the most fortunate of men. His life was filled with pleasure. He was surrounded by a loving family – his daughter, Hero; his niece, Beatrice; and his brother Antonio – who all lived with him. He was always ready to entertain guests and there was never a shortage of fun. Life at the governor’s villa was splendid.
On that particular summer morning an officer arrived while Leonato was in the middle of a fencing bout with Beatrice. She was winning. He was used to that and, being the man he was, he did not show any false pride, but congratulated her on each hit. The officer waited politely until they had finished. Leonato acknowledged his defeat with exaggerated bows to the cheering guests then shook the officer’s hand. The young man gave him a letter.
Leonato opened it. Hero and Beatrice watched his face as he read. His eyes opened wide then the creases around them were animated as he grinned delightedly. He held the letter up high as the young people gathered around him.
‘I learn from this letter, that Don Pedro of Arragon is arriving in Messina today,’ he said. A wave of excitement swept round the group and there was a buzz of anticipation.
‘He must be very close by now,’ the messenger told them. ‘He wasn’t more than nine miles away when I left him.’